Monthly Archives: January 2016

YWCA building

Springfield’s former YWCA building, on the verge of demolition, was built in the afterglow of evangelist Billy Sunday’s six-week-long local revival in early 1909. In his colorful way, Sunday had called out Springfield on its lack of attention to women’s … Continue reading

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Preston Butler (photographer)

Preston Butler, a daguerrotypist, made four frequently viewed images of businesses surrounding what now is the Old Capitol square in 1859. See Springfield square, 1859.

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Springfield square, 1859 (photos)

These photographs showing the four sides of the public square in 1859 are the most frequently viewed scenes of Springfield life during the years Abraham Lincoln lived in the city. They were taken by Preston Butler (1818-??), who had a … Continue reading

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Joe Yucas (‘King of the Lithuanians’)

This entry has been retitled and greatly expanded. Joe Yucas (1874-1926) was a Springfield bar owner and political operative who the Illinois State Register once called “the King of the Lithuanians.” According to his obituary, Yucas immigrated to the U.S. … Continue reading

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Alby’s Tavern & the Stasukinas family

Alby (Albinas) Stasukinas, son of Lithuanian immigrants Joseph and Rose (Poskevicius) Stasukinas, opened his storied tavern at 14th and Carpenter streets in 1944. Alby quit coal mining in 1940 to work at the Illiopolis munitions plant, but by 1944 he … Continue reading

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Richard Pryor (comedian)

Comedian Richard Pryor (1940-2005) famously grew up in a house of prostitution operated by his father’s mother in Peoria, but he briefly lived in Springfield with his mother and maternal grandparents. Pryor’s mother, Gertrude Thomas Pryor (later Emanuel), also was … Continue reading

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Black Civil War veterans buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery

At least 28 African-American Civil War veterans are buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, according to Kathleen Heyworth’s Private Lewis Martin and African-American Civil War Soldiers in Springfield, Illinois (2015). The following list, taken from Heyworth’s research, lists each … Continue reading

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Isaac Gaskin (black Civil War veteran)

In an 1889 letter to the Illinois State Journal, African-American Civil War veteran Isaac Gaskin of Springfield detailed his experiences as a Confederate prisoner following his capture during the Battle of the Crater in 1864. See Black Civil War veteran’s … Continue reading

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Black Civil War soldier’s POW experience

Isaac Gaskin (ca. 1847-1900), born a slave in Mississippi, served with the 29th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War and was captured by Confederates in the botched Battle of the Crater outside Petersburg, Va., on July 30, … Continue reading

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Wil-Hold Hair Setting Bob Pins

Wil-Hold Hair Setting Bob Pins were made at a plant at 10th and Miller streets from 1950 to 1959. See Bobby pin manufacturer.

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