Category Archives: Sports and recreation

First hunting license (1903)

The first hunting license ever issued in Sangamon County went to the father of Illinois’ hunting license law, railroad executive Horace S. Rearden. Illinois had regulated hunting since 1853, when the state made it unlawful “for any person to kill … Continue reading

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Iron Spring, Washington Park

The Iron Spring in Washington Park originally poured forth from a sandstone cave at the foot of a steep clay bluff. Cattle drank its water. But when Washington Park opened in 1901, the spring was one of its earliest attractions. … Continue reading

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Fishman Sporting Goods

Fishman Sporting Goods was an institution for 99 years in downtown Springfield. Founder Louis Fishman emigrated to Springfield in 1887, fleeing anti-Jewish pogroms in his native Russia. He went into business on the smallest of scales, as the Illinois State … Continue reading

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Camp Sangamo

When the Boy Scouts opened their first Camp Sangamo in 1920, the amenities included a Victrola, a croquet set and two rowboats. But no telephone. As the Scout organization explained in the Illinois State Journal prior to opening: There will … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Parks, Sports and recreation | 2 Comments

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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Illinois High School Association state champions (individual)

The first Sangamon County youth to be named state champion in any sport was Springfield High School student Frank Bogardus (1874-1931), who won the “drop foot ball kick” at Illinois’ first statewide track meet in May 1893. His kick traveled … Continue reading

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YMCA Athletic Park (1890s)

For a brief period in the 1890s, the Springfield Young Men’s Christian Association maintained what it called an athletic park. The park was on 10 acres leased by the YMCA at the southwest corner of Pasfield and Allen streets. A … Continue reading

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Basketball tournament in Illinois State Fairgrounds Coliseum, 1933

Repairs to the Illinois State Fairgrounds Coliseum, under way in summer 2019, will include heating and air-conditioning systems. But the building was unheated in the winter of 1933, when the Coliseum played host to a boys high school basketball tournament. … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Buildings, Depression, Schools and school districts, Sports and recreation | 2 Comments

Springfield wins minor-league baseball game, 33-23 (1926)

Baseball-mad Springfieldians got more than their money’s worth on July 20, 1926, both on the field and in the next day’s newspaper story. The Springfield Senators, the local entry in the Class B Three-I League, outslugged the Peoria Tractors that … Continue reading

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Riverton Athletic Club

The mammoth home run Robin Roberts hit on Oct. 14, 1951, remains a highlight in the 80-year history of the Riverton Athletic Club. Roberts, a Springfield native who had just completed the second of his six 20-win seasons as a … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Parks, Social life, Sports and recreation | 1 Comment