Category Archives: Prominent figures

Edward L. Baker (editor, diplomat)

As a newsman, Edward L. Baker delivered two of the biggest stories of the 19th century to Springfield. As a diplomat, Baker was too good to remove, no matter which party controlled the federal government. “Ned” Baker (1829-97) was only … Continue reading

Posted in Communications, Journalism, Lincoln, Abraham, Media, Oak Ridge signs, Politics, Prominent figures | 3 Comments

Gov. William H. Bissell

When Gov. William Bissell was reburied in 1871, the crowd may have been bigger than at any Springfield funeral since that of Abraham Lincoln. Bissell was the first Republican, first college graduate and first disabled person elected governor. He also … Continue reading

Posted in Illinois capital, Markers, Oak Ridge signs, Politics, Prominent figures, Spectacles, State government, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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

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. Update: There is an update to this entry. See New Dennis Williams … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Arts and letters, Business, Prominent figures | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Business, Department stores, Prominent figures | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Buildings, Business, Communities, Early residents, Fires, Prominent figures, Transportation | Leave a comment

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