Category Archives: Architecture

Auburn Brick Road

An empty stretch of highway near Auburn might be Sangamon County’s most obscure historic site. The Auburn Brick Road, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998, draws what few visitors it does because it was … Continue reading

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First passenger elevator (1876)

What apparently was Sangamon County’s first passenger elevator was installed at a dry-goods store, Kimber & Ragsdale, on the south side of today’s Old Capitol Plaza, in 1876. Kimber & Ragsdale, owned by W.F. Kimber (1836-1911) and Thomas Ragsdale (1812-92), … Continue reading

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Rees Memorial Carillon

Before the Springfield Park Board could build a carillon in Washington Park, it had to answer two questions: how many bells would it hold, and what kind would they be? When newspaper publisher Thomas Rees died in 1933, he left … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Communications, Journalism, Local government, Parks, Prominent figures, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Chatterton Opera House roof collapse, 1887

There was no audience inside when the roof of the Chatterton Opera House collapsed on Aug. 9, 1887. “The blue sky is now the only covering that shelters the auditorium of the once beautiful interior,” the Illinois State Journal reported. … Continue reading

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The Majestic theatre, 1907-35

“Springfield society assembled en masse on the evening of May 23, 1907, when the Majestic Theatre opened its doors for the first time”, the Illinois State Register reported in 1935. By then, the Majestic, 415-21 S. Fifth St., was no … Continue reading

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Roxy theater

“One of the city’s oldest, largest and most reliable babysitters, the Roxy Theater, will fall to the state of Illinois headache ball.” So wrote State-Journal Register critic Paul Povse in September 1978. Indeed, the demise of the Roxy was a … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Architecture, Social life, Theaters | 2 Comments

Old Capitol restoration, 1960s

Before the Old State Capitol was restored to the way it looked in the 1850s, the building housed Springfield’s public restrooms. You could tell by the odor. Earl “Wally” Henderson (1931-2016), co-founder with Don Ferry of the Ferry & Henderson … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, First Citizens, Historic Sites, Illinois capital, Local government, Museums, National Register, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, State government | Leave a comment

Alfred Booth, grocer, developer

Alfred Booth was a grocer and property developer in Springfield for more than 60 years. His most obvious legacy is the eight-story Booth Building at 516-18 E. Monroe Street. At the height of his career, Booth (1853-1939) developed single-family residences, … Continue reading

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Carnegie library pillars

The five limestone columns that face the courtyard of the Washington Park Horticulture Center make up the last exterior remains of Springfield’s old Carnegie library. Andrew Carnegie paid part of the construction cost of the old library, which opened in … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Arts and letters, Parks, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Broadwell’s building

This entry has been edited to correct information in a photo caption. The building on the northwest corner of Fifth and Washington streets in Springfield was a drugstore for about 125 years. While that tradition ended in 1981, the old … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Business, Historic Sites, Medicine, Prominent figures | 2 Comments