Category Archives: Architecture

The Krehbiel murals (Illinois Supreme Court)

The first public art Albert Krehbiel created apparently was on the buggies, carriages and delivery wagons his father manufactured in Iowa. His most famous works, however, are the 13 allegorical murals that decorate the Illinois Supreme Court Building in Springfield. … Continue reading

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Alfred Piquenard, Statehouse architect

The question of who deserves credit for designing the Illinois Statehouse has a complicated answer. When commissioners awarded the first design contract, newspaper stories called it “the plan of J.C. Cochrane,” referring to Chicago architect John C. Cochrane. An early … Continue reading

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Statehouse entrance revamped (1885-86)

For the first decade of its existence, people entering the east doors of the Illinois Statehouse had to stagger up a massive “grand staircase” to the building’s second floor. That changed in the 1880s, thanks to what was cutting-edge technology … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Disasters, Fires, Historic Sites, Illinois capital, Irish, John T. Stuart, Local government, Prominent figures, State government | Leave a comment

‘The Story of the House,’ by Alice Bunn

Alice Bunn (1867-1953) was born and died in the spacious home at 435 S. Sixth St. that was built by her father, Jacob Bunn, in the 1850s. The house was torn down for a parking lot in July 1953, a … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Architecture, Buildings, Children, Early residents, Family life, Histories, Prominent figures, Social life, Women | 2 Comments

First parking ramp (1963)

The space age hasn’t been kind to Springfield’s first parking ramp. The 450-car, $725,000 ramp opened to the public on March 17, 1963. The “gala open house” included free coffee, Coke or Bubble-Up and a Mel-O-Cream donut for every person … Continue reading

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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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