Category Archives: Hotels & taverns

Jack Johnson (boxing champion)

“Battle royals” in Springfield were a springboard to fame for boxer Jack Johnson, who went on to become the first African-American heavyweight champion. Johnson (1878-1946) was tutored in Springfield by Johnny Connors (1867-1966), a  boxer himself as well as a … Continue reading

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Hotel Normandie

The Hotel Normandie, 311-15 S. Fourth St., opened in May 1896 under the management of “old hotel man” M.M. Armstrong, the Illinois State Journal reported. The interior of the building has recently been thoroughly remodeled and renovated, finished off with … Continue reading

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Prohibition referendums in Sangamon County, 1908-17

Most of Sangamon County voted itself “dry” as soon as it legally could in 1908. But it would take four referendums and nearly 10 years before the city of Springfield finally succumbed to prohibitionist sentiment. After a bitter struggle, the … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Local government, Politics, Race riot of 1908, Restaurants, Social life, Women | Leave a comment

Joe Yucas (‘King of the Lithuanians’)

This entry has been retitled and greatly expanded. Joe Yucas (1874-1926) was a Springfield bar owner and political operative who the Illinois State Register once called “the King of the Lithuanians.” According to his obituary, Yucas immigrated to the U.S. … Continue reading

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Alby’s Tavern & the Stasukinas family

Alby (Albinas) Stasukinas, son of Lithuanian immigrants Joseph and Rose (Poskevicius) Stasukinas, opened his storied tavern at 14th and Carpenter streets in 1944. Alby quit coal mining in 1940 to work at the Illiopolis munitions plant, but by 1944 he … Continue reading

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Downtown Springfield hotels, 1907-16

Although overshadowed by larger, more lavish hostelries, like the St. Nicholas, Abraham Lincoln and Leland hotels, smaller hotels and boarding houses dotted downtown Springfield during much of the 20th century. Some catered to traveling salesmen, while others housed more or … Continue reading

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Assembly Ball, 1889 (photo)

This obviously staged photograph was taken by William Patton in the lobby of the Leland Hotel, Sixth Street and Capitol Avenue, in 1889. The photo was later printed in the lllinois State Journal. The caption said, in part: Here in … Continue reading

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Noll Saloon murders, 1913

A string of saloon holdups had Springfield already on edge in December 1913, when a shootout with a pair of robbers left two men dead in the Carl Noll Saloon, 1301 E. Reservoir St. Gun-wielding robbers had held up at … Continue reading

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The Political Rise of the Adamitis & Yacubasky Families

From Lithuanians in Springfield, Illinois The story goes that for decades, Republican Party leader Don “Doc” Adams (Lith. Adomaitis) of Springfield exercised significant patronage power in both the public and private sectors. When Doc died in 2011 at age 75, … Continue reading

Posted in Coal mines and mining, Hotels & taverns, Lithuanians, Politics, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life | 2 Comments

Smokey’s Den

Smokey’s Den, originally at 127 N. Fifth St., was the first bar in Springfield that openly catered to gay men and women. When Smokey’s closed in 2003, after nearly four decades in business, it was thought to be the oldest … Continue reading

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