Category Archives: Social life

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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Ethnic Festival (1974-2014)

Where could you go for a bowl of Polish biogs and a side of Irish soda bread, Lithuanian kugelis and a plate of nutty rugelach, some Greek spanakopita and then top it off with homemade German apfelstrudel?  The Ethnic Festival … Continue reading

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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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White Oaks Mall opening day lineup (1977)

“Think of us as your Big Apple,” White Oaks Mall boasted in ads on Grand Opening Day, Aug. 24, 1977. Ninety-nine stores lined the corridors of the mall that day, including four “anchor” department stores – Myers Brothers, Famous-Barr, Sears … Continue reading

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Allen Cigar Store explosion, 1929

“Springfield’s original optimist” died in a soda fountain explosion on Sept. 7, 1929. Matt Reavley (1879-1929) was an employee and part-owner of Allen Cigar Store, which at the time had operated for 20 years on the northwest corner of Sixth … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life | 5 Comments

The Booker’s Tavern corner (11th and South Grand)

“Squire Butler is Dead”, proclaimed a headline in the April 12, 1902, Illinois State Journal. “George H. Butler, familiarly known as ‘Squire’ Butler, was a character in the neighborhood of his home at 1124 South Grand avenue, east,” the Journal … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Buildings, Business, Hotels & taverns, Social life | 1 Comment

U.S. Grant marches to Island Grove, 1861

In 1927, Benjamin Warfield Brown, the son of agricultural pioneer James N. Brown, published a short memory of then-Col. U.S. Grant’s 1861 visit to the Brown family farm in western Sangamon County. The visit turned out to be, literally, part … Continue reading

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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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‘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

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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