Category Archives: Railroads

East Springfield village hall and ‘calaboose’

Invisible and almost inaccessible, tucked into the side of the 19th Street overpass, a tumbledown brick building was in 2022 the last remnant of the once-feisty village of East Springfield. When constructed in 1901, the building served as the East … Continue reading

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The Lochridge brothers, Pawnee merchants

The Lochridge brothers began as farmers, but became grocers, businessmen, investors and, for a time, bankers. In the process, they helped build the town of Pawnee. The first Lochridges, Revolutionary War veteran Capt. John Lochridge (1761-1851) and his son William … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Communities, Early residents, Prominent figures, Railroads | 1 Comment

Bluford Wilson (lawyer, corruption fighter)

In his later years, Maj. Bluford Wilson was a railroad lawyer in Springfield. His spare time was consumed with church work, politics and, apparently, cultivating a luxuriant mustache. But as a young man, Wilson helped break up the Whiskey Ring, … Continue reading

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Mail robbery, 1923, ‘most daring ever’

Ten men eventually went to prison for a 1923 mail robbery the Illinois State Journal called “the most daring ever staged in this city.” The gang struck at 1:20 a.m. April 1, 1923, at the Chicago & Alton railway station … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Railroads, Transportation | 9 Comments

Seven children die in car/train accident, 1928

Seven young people – six siblings and a cousin – were killed on June 5, 1928, when the car they were in drove in front of a southbound Interurban train near Auburn. The car was traveling west on Divernon Road. … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Disasters, Railroads, Transportation | 1 Comment

‘Deadman’s Crossing,’ 16th Street and Sangamon Avenue

The railroad intersection at 16th Street and Sangamon Avenue earned the nickname “Deadman’s Crossing” in the years before an underpass was built to route traffic below the train tracks. At least 16 people were killed at the crossing between 1903 … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Railroads, Transportation, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

‘Diamond Special’ train hijacking, 1913

Two audacious robbers hijacked the Illinois Central Railroad’s “Diamond Special” train near Glenarm on June 18, 1913. The northbound train, which ran between St. Louis and Chicago, was due in Springfield from the south, bearing 150 passengers and an American … Continue reading

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Ridgely family

Nicholas Ridgely, a Maryland native who moved to Sangamon County in 1835, was the father of 13 children by two wives (both named Jane). Here is a look at several Ridgelys who played prominent roles in 19th-century Springfield. *Nicholas Ridgely … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Business, Industry, Local government, Prominent figures, Railroads | 6 Comments

Two days in May: The funeral of Abraham Lincoln

As the funeral train carrying the coffin of President Abraham Lincoln pulled into Springfield’s Chicago & Alton station the morning of May 3, 1865, dozens of special trains had already disgorged visitors from all points of the compass. Thousands more … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Historic Sites, John T. Stuart, Lincoln Tomb, Lincoln, Abraham, Local government, Railroads | 2 Comments

Springfield in 1912 (‘General Facts’)

Above is a page from Springfield: The Capital of the State of Illinois (1912), published by the Springfield Commercial Association, a forerunner of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Perhaps the most illuminating “general fact” to the modern reader is … Continue reading

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