Monthly Archives: May 2022

First school for Black children

Springfield’s Colored Baptist Church created what apparently was the city’s first school open to African-American children in the late 1840s. It was a struggle to keep open, but it took a decade before the city finally opened a public school … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Children, Churches, Education, Local government, Schools and school districts | Leave a comment

Andrew McFarland (mental health center namesake)

Dr. Andrew McFarland, the namesake of the Andrew McFarland Mental Health Center near Springfield, directed the Illinois Hospital and Asylum for the Insane in Jacksonville in the mid-1870s. Perversely, McFarland (1817-91) also helped expand the rights of people accused of … Continue reading

Posted in Medicine, Social services, Women | Leave a comment

Sherwood subdivision

“A home in Sherwood is an investment in happiness,” Vredenburgh Lumber Co. promised when it marketed its new development in the 1960s. It was an effective pitch: In 2022, Sherwood was the largest single-family-home subdivision in Springfield. Sherwood’s 656 homes … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Covid-19: History in the making

At least three local institutions are documenting the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on individuals in Illinois as it happens. Representatives of all three gave presentations May 17, 2022, to the Sangamon County Historical Society. Results from two of the … Continue reading

Posted in Disasters, Medicine, Public health, Resources, Science | Leave a comment

Lincoln circuit marker, Sangamon-Christian county line

Down a tiny back road southeast of Breckenridge, out of view but within earshot of Illinois 29, stands a century-old monument to the legal career of Abraham Lincoln. Nearly forgotten today, it is one of three dozen markers the Daughters … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Historic Sites, Lincoln, Abraham, Markers | 2 Comments

Comer Cox, Urban League leader

Comer Cox, the namesake of Comer Cox Park in Springfield, was an Alabama native and star athlete in his  youth who went on to lead the Springfield Urban League. Comer Lane Cox was born May 9, 1905, in Athens, Ala. … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Business, Parks, Prominent figures, Social services | 1 Comment

Benjamin Stephenson and the Grand Army of the Republic

Somewhere in Mississippi in early 1864, two comrades in the 14th Illinois Volunteer Infantry agreed that, when the Civil War was over, Union Army soldiers ought to organize “some form of association to preserve the friendships and memories of their … Continue reading

Posted in Military, Museums, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Joseph Ludgate, “long distance singer”

The “champion long distance singer of the world” called Springfield home for about four months in 1895. Joseph C. Ludgate (1864-1947) arrived in December 1894 to command the local corps of the Salvation Army “with a history,” the Illinois State … Continue reading

Posted in Churches, Spectacles | Leave a comment