The Spaulding family, starting with J. B. Spaulding, grandfather of Willis and Charles Spaulding and Maydie Spaulding Lee, at various times owned several orchards around Springfield.
The village of Spaulding, next to Riverton, “got its railroad station because of the volume of foliage, plants, shrubs and trees shipped from the J.B. Spaulding nursery,” according to a memorial leaflet for Charles Spaulding, who developed a variety of water purification techniques for City Water, Light and Power in the early to mid-1900s.
“The old gingko trees and the enormous cucumber trees on (the lawn of what is now the Chesapeake Seafood House on Clear Lake Avenue) were nurtured in the old Spaulding nursery,” the leaflet adds.
Another Spaulding orchard can be seen on the 1867 Ruger map of Springfield; that orchard ran between Eighth and 10th streets from about Clay Street to South Grand Avenue.
Before he became involved in local government as Springfield utilities commissioner from 1911 to 1943, Willis J. Spaulding was an orchardist for 15 years, in partnership with his brother, Lewis Dana Spaulding.
Dana Spaulding remained in the market garden business after the partnership broke up, buying a large tract of land near Chatham. Today’s Spaulding Orchard Road is a reference to Dana’s business (which for a time specialized in asparagus). The area now is part of the Panther Creek housing development.
Illinois Times food writer Julianne Glatz, who with her husband bought a home on what was the site of the orchard, wrote a memoir of Spaulding Orchard in September 2013.
Original content copyright Sangamon County Historical Society. You are free to republish this content as long as credit is given to the Society. Learn how to support the Society.