Category Archives: Communications

Edward L. Baker (editor, diplomat)

As a newsman, Edward L. Baker delivered two of the biggest stories of the 19th century to Springfield. As a diplomat, Baker was too good to remove, no matter which party controlled the federal government. “Ned” Baker (1829-97) was only … Continue reading

Posted in Communications, Journalism, Lincoln, Abraham, Media, Oak Ridge signs, Politics, Prominent figures | 3 Comments

Rees Memorial Carillon

Before the Springfield Park Board could build a carillon in Washington Park, it had to answer two questions: how many bells would it hold, and what kind would they be? When newspaper publisher Thomas Rees died in 1933, he left … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Communications, Journalism, Local government, Parks, Prominent figures, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Three killed in saloon shootout, 1905

A drunken shootout in a Springfield saloon in 1905 left three men dead and two brothers charged with murder. The cause was a previous fistfight, followed by a series of telephoned challenges, newspaper articles reported. Those killed were all from … Continue reading

Posted in Communications, Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Journalism, Law enforcement | 3 Comments

Telephones in Springfield, 1939-84

Dial telephones went into use in Springfield in dramatic fashion on Aug. 20, 1939. Four minutes before midnight, crews of workmen in two separate locations simultaneously disabled the old operator switchboards and plugged 21,000 telephones into the new one. “With … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Communications | 2 Comments

Dual telephone service in Springfield (1903-19)

Sangamon County was a hub for early telephone development, thanks partly to its geographic position between St. Louis and Chicago and partly to the county’s relationship with Bell Telephone. In 1881 a newly formed company, American Bell Telephone, bought a … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Communications | 1 Comment

WMAY Shower of Stars, 1959

This entry has been edited to correct the date of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. On Feb. 15, 1959, the curtain opened on the stage of the Illinois State Armory, and Harry … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Communications, Media | 3 Comments

Labor Day, 1918

Springfield union members made plans for a giant parade on Labor Day 1918, one designed to highlight labor’s support for U.S. soldiers fighting in World War I as well as for the union movement. But it was rained out. The … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, Communications, Labor unions, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Fallout shelters in Sangamon County

On April 5, 1964, about 150 people moved into the sleek, white-tiled tunnels below the State Office Building. They were to remain there for 25 hours, drinking purified water and munching biscuits, while loudspeakers blared warnings and audio recordings simulated … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Communications, Illinois capital, Local government, Maps, Public health | 9 Comments

First dial telephones (1930s)

Six hundred dial telephones were put into service at the Illinois Statehouse in March 1934, the first use of dial technology anywhere in Sangamon County. However, no one in the Capitol could dial a phone outside the building for nearly … Continue reading

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Sangamo Monitor

The Sangamo Monitor, published from 1873 until 1898, for a time sold more copies than either the Illinois State Journal or Illinois State Register. Most of the credit goes to Thomas Winfield Scott Kidd (1828-1904), the Monitor’s popular, freewheeling publisher. … Continue reading

Posted in Communications, Media, Prominent figures | 2 Comments