Category Archives: Prominent figures

Loomis Observatory

For 15 years early in the 20th century, one of the United States’ most sophisticated private telescope systems operated from a modest house on North First Street in Springfield. The Loomis Observatory eventually housed four telescopes – two larger scopes … Continue reading

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William Dodd Chenery, impresario

The dedication of Lake Springfield on July 12, 1935 featured an elaborate pageant involving more than 100 participants – among them city fathers who portrayed themselves in a drama depicting the planning and construction of the lake. The Illinois State … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Arts and letters, Celebrations, Hotels & taverns, Prominent figures, Social life, Spectacles | Leave a comment

Rev. Charles Dresser (Lincoln marriage, Lincoln Home)

The man who built the cottage that became the Lincoln Home also officiated the marriage of Abraham and Mary Lincoln. His life’s work, however, was formation of the church that became Springfield’s Cathedral Church of St. Paul. Rev. Charles Dresser … Continue reading

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Albert Booth family, wagon makers

The A. Booth and Son Wagon Factory once dominated the northeast corner of Eighth and Washington Streets in Springfield. The factory was built by Albert Booth (1813-1873), who moved his family from Menard to Sangamon County around 1840. He first … Continue reading

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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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Harry Eielson’s miracle touchdown, 1918

Harry Eielson was a dominant athlete in high school and college. The Springfield High School basketball team, with Eielson as captain, won the 1917 state championship. Eielson took first place in pole vault at the 1915-16 state track meet, setting … Continue reading

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George Voyzey, union radical

The radical sympathies of Springfield labor activist George Thomas Voyzey (1893-1950) got him in trouble with both local authorities and other union leaders. Voyzey served as chairman of the Springfield affiliate of Save the Union, a miners’ group that broke … Continue reading

Posted in Coal mines and mining, Depression, Industry, Labor unions, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Southern Illinois Medical School 50th anniversary (2020)

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine indefinitely postponed its 50th anniversary alumni gala, which had been scheduled for April 4, 2020, at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield. The gala was a minor casualty of the … Continue reading

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Washington Iles, civic leader

Washington Iles (1800-71) was often overshadowed by his older brother, Elijah, Springfield’s pioneer merchant and civic leader. But Washington also was a respected, active citizen of the city. The brothers were in step with each other in many of their … Continue reading

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The Palace Hotel

In the late 1800s, Springfield’s Palace Hotel had a great location at Fourth and Washington streets, a half-block from the Chicago & Alton railroad station (today’s Amtrak station). For a while, the Palace was one of the city’s premier hostelries. … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Hotels & taverns, Illinois capital, Prominent figures, Uncategorized | 4 Comments