Category Archives: Prominent figures

Women’s golf, 1899

“A crowd of young society women in 1899 shocked the conventions of the day by reckless indulgence in a game called golf,” the Illinois State Journal recalled in 1931. Most of that sentence was nonsense. There’s no evidence anyone was … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Media, Parks, Photos and photosets, Prominent figures, Social life, Sports and recreation, Women | Leave a comment

‘The Story of the House,’ by Alice Bunn

Alice Bunn (1867-1953) was born and died in the spacious home at 435 S. Sixth St. that was built by her father, Jacob Bunn, in the 1850s. The house was torn down for a parking lot in July 1953, a … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Architecture, Buildings, Children, Early residents, Family life, Histories, Prominent figures, Social life, Women | 2 Comments

First parking ramp (1963)

The space age hasn’t been kind to Springfield’s first parking ramp. The 450-car, $725,000 ramp opened to the public on March 17, 1963. The “gala open house” included free coffee, Coke or Bubble-Up and a Mel-O-Cream donut for every person … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Business, Local government, Prominent figures, Springfield, Transportation | Leave a comment

Tapeworms and medical fraud, 1884

Dr. George Kreider “hates quacks as the devil hates holy water,” the Illinois State Register said in 1884, but he almost met his match in an 87-foot tapeworm. George N. Kreider (1856-1922) was a leader among Springfield physicians in the … Continue reading

Posted in First Citizens, Journalism, Law enforcement, Medicine, Prominent figures, Public health, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

New Dennis Williams portrait (a detective story)

This article first appeared in the November 2021 edition of Historico, the newsletter of the Sangamon County Historical Society. You can become a Historico subscriber: see below. Dennis Williams was a rarity in 1880s Springfield: a successful African American artist … Continue reading

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

Shelby M. Cullom (U.S. Senate)

Shelby M. Cullom won his first election by four votes. It was the start of a 60-year political career that would take him to the edge of the presidency. As a lawmaker, Cullom (1829-1914) “sometimes seemed to plod,” an obituary … Continue reading

Posted in John T. Stuart, Lincoln, Abraham, Local government, Oak Ridge signs, Politics, Presidential candidates, Prominent figures, State government | Leave a comment

First burial of a Japanese

Johei “Joe” Okuhara probably was the first ethnic Japanese to be buried in Springfield, and his also may have been the first Muslim funeral. However, his friends wanted the city to know, he did not live – or die – … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Ethnic groups, Japanese, Media, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Sweet gum trees

Springfield folklore says the city’s population of sweet gum trees (and their annoying, spiky “gum ball” seed pods) dates from the great elm tree die-off of the late 1940s. And sweet gums indeed were one of the main tree species … Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Prominent figures, Science | 4 Comments

First window glass

“Squire Job” Fletcher, one of Sangamon County’s earliest officials and a member of the “Long Nine” that secured Springfield as the state capital, apparently was the first county resident to have glass windows in his home. John Carroll Power recorded … Continue reading

Posted in Early residents, Local government, Native Americans, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

R.F. Herndon & Co. (dry goods, women’s clothing)

R.F. Herndon & Co. sold dry goods, women’s clothing and hats for more than 130 years in Springfield. Herndon’s operated the first horseless delivery vehicle in Springfield, and its third location featured one of Springfield’s first passenger elevators, an innovation … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Department stores, Prominent figures, Uncategorized | 3 Comments