Category Archives: Schools and school districts

First school for Black children

Springfield’s Colored Baptist Church created what apparently was the city’s first school open to African-American children in the late 1840s. It was a struggle to keep open, but it took a decade before the city finally opened a public school … 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

The ‘Tournament of the Big Snow’, 1931

“(W)hen coaches, players or spectators recall 1931 to their grandchildren, they’ll call it the Tournament of the Big Snow,” Illinois State Journal sports editor Bob Drysdale wrote of the 1931 boys district basketball championships. A blizzard – 14 inches of … Continue reading

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Brown’s Business College (1864-1994)

In 1864, Washington Rutledge, a relative of Abraham Lincoln’s reputed love Ann Rutledge, opened Rutledge & Davidson’s Commercial College in Springfield. Over the next 130 years, Rutledge & Davidson’s and its descendants provided what an early advertisement called “passports to … Continue reading

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Lanphier High School’s historic Earth Day flag

A homemade flag Lanphier High School students carried to the Statehouse in 1970 as a symbol of the environmental movement found a permanent home in the Smithsonian Institution. But a mystery remains: who sewed the flag? Smithsonian Magazine revived the … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Schools and school districts, Science | 11 Comments

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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St. Patrick Parish, Springfield

The flag of Ireland lay draped beside the Stars and Stripes at a banquet held at the St. Nicholas Hotel on St. Patrick’s Day 1915. Springfield’s Irish Fellowship, led by the Irish-born Rev. Timothy Hickey, had organized Lá Fhéile Pádraig, … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Churches, Ethnic groups, Irish, Irish, Schools and school districts | 2 Comments

First woman principals in Springfield public schools

Women served as principals in the Springfield public schools for the first time in the 1874-75 school year, but only following a debate in which some board members declared they opposed “so hazardous an experiment as the employment of lady … 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

Ridgely Elementary School, 1914-1926 (Marguerite Soma memories)

In 1997, students at Ridgely Elementary School, 2040 N. Eighth St., interviewed former Ridgely teacher Marguerite Beechler Soma (1894-1997). Her reminiscences were compiled and published on the school’s Alumni Day web site (in fact, the site was dedicated to her). … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Education, Histories, Schools and school districts, Women | 2 Comments