Category Archives: Animals

Christmas at the Wonder Store, 1881

Frank Myers was no relation to Springfield’s later department store dynasty, the Myers Brothers, but he apparently had some of the same merchandising instincts – down to the monkeys both used as advertising gimmicks. From the 1870s to 1904, Myers’ … Continue reading

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Stray dog eradication, 1935

Hoping to stop a rabies epidemic, authorities declared open season on stray dogs in Sangamon County in 1935. Police and dog catchers killed hundreds of dogs that year in what one Illinois State Journal headline called a “brutal” eradication campaign. … Continue reading

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Jerome Leland’s pigeons

In the early 20th century, Springfield hotel menus often included squab – breast of squab, “royal squab sur canape,” etc. But pigeons (the more common name for squab) made their way into the heart, not the stomach, of Jerome A. … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Animals, Buildings, Farming, Hotels & taverns, Parks, Prominent figures | 3 Comments

James N. Brown, founder of Illinois State Fair

James N. Brown helped create the Republican Party in Illinois. He bred famous shorthorn cattle on a showplace farm that stretched across Sangamon and Morgan counties. He was the second person (behind Cyrus McCormick, but ahead of Jonathan Baldwin Turner … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Animals, Early residents, Environment, Farming, Prominent figures | 2 Comments

Klever’s Model controversy (‘the hog case’)

The world of Poland China swine revolved around Williamsville in the 1890s, thanks to stockman George G. Council and his prize boar, Klever’s Model. When Council (1864-1944) put Klever’s Model up for sale in 1897, a syndicate made up of … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Animals, Farming, Prominent figures | 3 Comments

Millie, the Illinois State Museum Mastodon

“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

First hunting license (1903)

The first hunting license ever issued in Sangamon County went to the father of Illinois’ hunting license law, railroad executive Horace S. Rearden. Illinois had regulated hunting since 1853, when the state made it unlawful “for any person to kill … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Animals, Prominent figures, Sports and recreation | 1 Comment

‘Humane officer’ report, April 1904

Charles Stone (1847?-1911) was appointed Springfield’s first humane officer in November 1903. The position was part of the Springfield Police Department, and the humane officer had all the powers of any other police officer, but with the special duty of … Continue reading

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‘Rags,’ the interurban mascot

Rags, a brown, curly-haired mutt with a habit of hopping trains, spent a happy half-dozen years as central Illinois’ “mascot of the interurban.” Like modern dogs riding in autos, Rags somehow learned that it was fun to joyride on a … Continue reading

Posted in Animals, Transportation | 1 Comment

Dan Patch sets state fair race record (1906)

An estimated 40,000 people watched Dan Patch, the world’s most famous harness horse, set a new Illinois State Fair pacing record on Oct. 2, 1906. Dan Patch covered the one-mile fairgrounds track in 1:59¼, the first time a harness horse … Continue reading

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