Category Archives: Sports and recreation

Moose Club ‘athletic show,’ 1914 (Springfield Survey)

In March 1914, a couple of social survey experts attended a so-called “athletic show” put on by the Springfield Moose Club. The two – apparently Lee F. Hanmer and Clarence Arthur Perry of the New York-based Russell Sage Foundation – … Continue reading

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Memorial Pool

On June 16, 1928, a crowd of about 750 people attended the grand opening of Soldiers’ and Sailors Memorial Pool on Springfield’s north end. The pool was named to honor all U.S. service personnel who perished in wars spanning the … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Local government, Parks, Public health, Social services, Sports and recreation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sun ‘n Fun Swimming Club

There was a time after World War II when swimming pools in the U.S. were built not just for recreation, but as investment opportunities. The Sun ‘n Fun Swimming Club was one such place in Springfield. Sun ‘n Fun opened … Continue reading

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Cathedral High School basketball champions, 1939

Springfield’s Cathedral Boys High School won its only Illinois Catholic Conference basketball tournament in 1939. The 16-team event was held at the Illinois State Armory Feb. 24-26. Cathedral’s 285 students (as the name suggests, the school was open only to … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Schools and school districts, Sports and recreation, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Springfield Sallies (professional women’s baseball)

The Springfield Sallies were one of the least successful, and also shortest-lived, teams in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The league, whose memory was revived by the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own,” lasted from 1943 to 1954. … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Parks, Prominent figures, Sports and recreation, Women | 2 Comments

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

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Early ‘base ball’: Libertys lose to Rockford, 101-13 (1869)

This entry has been edited to provide a better location for Capital Park. The hometown Liberty Base Ball Club didn’t expect to beat the Rockford Forest Citys when the celebrated Rockford team visited Springfield in 1869. City-versus-city match games were … Continue reading

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Mildred Park bridge collapse, 1905 (photos)

Somehow, no one was seriously injured when a crowded suspension bridge collapsed into the pond at Mildred Park (today’s Bunn Park) on Aug. 16, 1905. The lead on the Illinois State Journal story: Without the slightest warning, the suspension bridge … Continue reading

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Moonlight Garden

Moonlight Garden flourished as an open-air dance pavilion and then an indoor roller rink on Wabash Avenue for more than 35 years. Entrepreneur/showman Roy Dexheimer Sr. founded Moonlight Garden as the otherwise nameless “Open Air Dance Pavilion” in June 1927. … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Crime and vice, Social life, Sports and recreation | 6 Comments

Walkathon Derby, 1934

When Springfield’s Walkathon Derby shut down on May 18, 1934, it left a mountain of unpaid bills and eight groggy couples. The competition, held in a large tent at Second and Mason streets, started May 5 with several dozen pairs … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Spectacles, Sports and recreation, Uncategorized | 2 Comments