Category Archives: Prominent figures

Robert Preston Taylor (Lincoln College of Law, Illinois State Museum)

By one measurement, Robert Preston Taylor (1876-1951) goes into history as the first African-American graduate of the old Lincoln College of Law in Springfield. But that would ignore Taylor’s more significant achievement: bringing to life exhibits at the Illinois State … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Education, Higher education, Museums, Prominent figures | 2 Comments

Riverton High School boys basketball, 1949-50

Frank Santarelli assembled what turned out to be a great Riverton boys basketball team on a cold November afternoon in 1949. Santarelli, himself a Riverton alumnus, coached the Hawks from 1935 through 1942 and 1946 through 1957. The 1949-50 team … Continue reading

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Roberts Brothers (men’s clothing)

In the cold, early morning hours of December 12, 1974, smoke billowed from the roof of Roberts Brothers clothing store in downtown Springfield. A fire had started on the second floor, and the Springfield Fire Department was alerted when a … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Department stores, Prominent figures | 4 Comments

Jesse L. McCoy, WWII “daggerman”

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Jesse L. McCoy of Springfield converted a ceremonial sword once used by a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows into a couple of daggers. By the time he and World War II were finished, … Continue reading

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The Lemon Jelly Cake (Madeline Babcock Smith)

Madeline Babcock Smith earned her spot in the literary limelight. But she never got to enjoy it. Smith’s first novel, The Lemon Jelly Cake, published Aug. 4, 1952, “enjoyed an immediate and astounding success,” Dan Guillory wrote in his introduction … Continue reading

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Springfield postal service/postmasters

Receiving mail was a hit-or-miss proposition before Springfield got its first post office, and it wasn’t a picnic afterwards, either. The Springfield post office will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2023. The first postmaster was pioneer storekeeper Elijah Iles. The … Continue reading

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Mazeppa (vanished town)

Long before there was any Ukrainian presence to speak of in Sangamon County, there was a town with a Ukrainian name. The town of Mazeppa stood for a few years after 1837 in what is now Ball Township, on the … Continue reading

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Carl T. Meyer, architect

In 1927, the Illinois State Register called Springfield architect Carl Theodore Meyer “one of the younger-and progressive-generation of architects, a man who has carved a credible niche for himself in local construction.” Meyer, just 32, had already completed several commissions. … Continue reading

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Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame members, Sangamon County

The Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame includes plaques for a dozen – or so, depending on how you count them – inductees from Williamsville to Divernon in Sangamon County. U.S. Route 66, “the Mother Road,” probably the most famous … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Hotels & taverns, Maps, Markers, Museums, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Route 66, State government, Transportation | Leave a comment

Dick Sullivan, political ‘boss’

Dick Sullivan, reputed to be Sangamon County’s behind-the-scenes political master for the first two decades of the 20th century, died in a violent train collision in New York state in 1923. Richard M. Sullivan (1874-1923), his wife Clara (1875-1923), their … Continue reading

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