Category Archives: Prominent figures

Dr. Don Deal, surgeon and visionary

In the 1920s, Dr. Don Deal correctly predicted Springfield’s reinvention as a medical center. Springfield’s medical establishment “draws from a larger surrounding territory, in proportion to its population, than any other city in the United States,” Deal told fellow members … Continue reading

Posted in Medicine, Prominent figures, Public health, Science, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Dennis Williams, crayon artist

  This entry, originally written in 2013, was greatly expanded and corrected in 2021, thanks to the research of Mary Frances of Springfield. See “Contributor” note at end. Dennis Williams (1851-89), born an enslaved person in Mississippi, became an acclaimed … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Arts and letters, Business, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Savillah Hinrichsen, librarian and suffragist

When William “Buck” Hinrichsen took office as Illinois secretary of state in 1893, he appointed his sister, Savillah Hinrichsen, as assistant state librarian. The term “assistant,” however, was misleading – the secretary of state is also titularly the state librarian, … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Prominent figures, State government, Women | Leave a comment

S.A. Barker Co.

Samuel A. Barker began his apparel career as a “bundle boy,” gathering discarded garments from shop floors for sorting and cleaning. He ended it as the owner of S.A. Barker Co., one of Springfield’s best-known women’s clothing stores. Barker (1885-1968) … Continue reading

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Leroy Key, Andersonville hero

Leroy Key made his mark in history as a prisoner of war. Key died in Springfield in 1880, possibly because of aftereffects of the time he spent in the horrific Confederate prisoner-of-war camp at Andersonville, Ga., during the Civil War. … Continue reading

Posted in Military, Prominent figures | 3 Comments

Bradfordton

Bradfordton owes its existence to a short-lived railroad and its name to a veteran of the War of 1812. Never an incorporated community, Bradfordton – on Illinois 97 (Jefferson Street extended) west of Springfield – originally was known as “Bradfordton … Continue reading

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Southwest Airport

Craig Isbell, who once told Charles Lindbergh he’d never make it across the Atlantic, helped bring Springfield into the age of air. Isbell and a partner, Gelder Lockwood, founded the Springfield Aviation Co., which operated Southwest Airport, on Chatham Road … Continue reading

Posted in Air travel, Airport, Business, Prominent figures, Transportation | 6 Comments

Klever’s Model controversy (‘the hog case’)

The world of Poland China swine revolved around Williamsville in the 1890s, thanks to stockman George G. Council and his prize boar, Klever’s Model. When Council (1864-1944) put Klever’s Model up for sale in 1897, a syndicate made up of … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Animals, Farming, Prominent figures | 3 Comments

Harry Lane, ‘boss gambler’

Chester M. “Harry” Lane was Springfield’s gambling kingpin at the turn of the 20th century, apparently with the connivance of police, city officials, and the courts. He stepped down in the mid-1900s, after a fatal shooting, the election of a … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Buildings, Business, Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Journalism, Law enforcement, Media, Politics, Prominent figures | 1 Comment

St. Nicholas Hotel early days

J. Emil Smith, editor, publisher and columnist for the Illinois State Journal, wrote the following memory of the early St. Nicholas Hotel on Nov. 28, 1943, a few days before the McCreery family relinquished ownership. The McCreerys had operated the … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Historic Sites, Hotels & taverns, National Register, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life, Uncategorized | 4 Comments