Category Archives: Prominent figures

Top income tax payers, 1863

To finance the Civil War, Congress and President Abraham Lincoln imposed the first nationwide income tax in 1861. Changes the next year made the tax progressive – people with incomes of less than $600 a year (about $18,000 in 2024) … Continue reading

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Frank Simmons Books, Stationery and Art

The Frank Simmons stationery store commemorated the 100th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration as president with a unique and potentially lucrative certificate: If someone paid $100 on the anniversary date, April 30, 1889, the certificate said, the store would repay … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Business, Prominent figures | 1 Comment

The Hammerslough/Rosenwald family, clothiers

The Capitol Clothing House opened in Springfield in 1856 with the slogan “Low Prices and Good Goods.” Aside from providing inexpensive, ready-to-wear clothes to pre-Civil War Springfield, the Capitol Clothing House is the reason Springfield can boast that it was … Continue reading

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Christmas at the Wonder Store, 1881

Frank Myers was no relation to Springfield’s later department store dynasty, the Myers Brothers, but he apparently had some of the same merchandising instincts – down to the monkeys both used as advertising gimmicks. From the 1870s to 1904, Myers’ … Continue reading

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First talking movie

Harry T. Loper (1860-1948), historically linked to Springfield’s race riot of 1908, also introduced talking movies to Springfield. Loper went into the restaurant business when he moved to Springfield from Greenfield in 1883, and Loper’s Restaurant at 223 S. Fifth … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Architecture, Buildings, Business, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life, Theaters, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First Rochester schools

The 1881 History of Sangamon County, Illinois, Together with Sketches of Its Cities, Villages and Townships includes two short accounts of the earliest schoolhouses and teachers near Rochester. As described, the schools were rough and improvised, and one burned down in … Continue reading

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Thorne Deuel, museum director

Thorne Deuel, director of the Illinois State Museum for nearly 25 years, literally made it the institution it is today. Deuel (1890-1984) was a research associate at the University of Chicago, specializing in anthropology and archaeology related to Native Americans … Continue reading

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The Georg family, photographers

The Georg photo dynasty documented Springfield’s history for a century. But much of that history went up in flames when a fire destroyed the Herbert Georg Studio in 1980. The three best-known family members were Victor Emmanuel Georg (1858-1911) and … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Business, Fires, Illustrations, Media, Prominent figures | 2 Comments

Hebrew Ground, Oak Ridge Cemetery

“Hebrew Ground” at Oak Ridge Cemetery is the resting place of 342 early Jewish settlers to Springfield and Central Illinois. It is marked by a plaque, dedicated in September 2023, that sits in front of the graves of Springfield’s first … Continue reading

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Sister Jane Like & Carol Bressan: Unsung heroes of SIU Med SChool

This entry has been corrected. See below and in comments. The lecture title said it all: “The Early History of SIU School of Medicine: Not for the Naïve or Faint of Heart.” According to Glen Davidson, Ph.D, two women – … Continue reading

Posted in Churches, Higher education, Medicine, Prominent figures, Public health, State government | 1 Comment