Category Archives: Science

“Millie,” the Illinois State Museum’s mastodon skeleton, arrived in Springfield in pieces starting in fall 1974. Like those of many mastodon skeletons on display around the world, Millie’s bones actually are fiberglass composites. The original bones came mostly from a … Continue reading

Posted in Animals, Museums, Prehistory, Science, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Loomis Observatory

For 15 years early in the 20th century, one of the United States’ most sophisticated private telescope systems operated from a modest house on North First Street in Springfield. The Loomis Observatory eventually housed four telescopes – two larger scopes … Continue reading

Posted in Prominent figures, Science | 5 Comments

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

Earle Baker Perce, Antarctic explorer

Perce Point, a headland on an island on the west edge of Antarctica, commemorates a Williamsville man’s role in exploring some of the last unknown places on earth. Earle Baker Perce (1910-68) was a U.S. Navy radioman and pilot when … Continue reading

Posted in Air travel, Military, Prominent figures, Science | Leave a comment

‘Alfalfa train,’ 1913

The alfalfa train was an automobile caravan that traveled to the ends of Sangamon County for five days in June 1913, carrying experts who preached the gospel of alfalfa hay. Over the five days, the half-dozen alfalfa advocates and dozens … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Farming, Science, Soil | Leave a comment

Daylight Saving Time, 1918

What now is known as Daylight Saving Time was first instituted on Easter Sunday, March 31, 1918, as a way to save fuel to support U.S. soldiers in World War I. In Sangamon County, the main inconvenience was to churches, … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Science | Leave a comment

Birds of Sangamon County

A 40-year study by Illinois State Museum ornithologist H. David Bohlen found 359 different species of birds in Sangamon County. However, Bohlen warns in his report, published online by the museum in 2013, that increasing human population has badly reduced … Continue reading

Posted in Prehistory, Resources, Science | Leave a comment

First radio weather report (Illiopolis, 1915)

What apparently was the first weather report ever transmitted by radio was a test sent from an experimental station based in Illiopolis sometime in April 1915. Although the Illiopolis transmitter, operating on call letters 9ZK, reached most of Illinois, the … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Journalism, Media, Science | Leave a comment