Category Archives: Business

Kayport Package Express implodes, 1983

Founder F. George Celani called Kayport Package Express a “41-day miracle” when the shipping startup went into business at Capital Airport on March 1, 1983. About 1,200 Springfield dignitaries attended the ceremony, which included champagne, a high-school band and a … Continue reading

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Frank P. Richards, wood carver

In the early 20th century, Frank P. Richards would display his patriotic wood carvings on the front lawn of his home at 1160 Elliott Ave. every Fourth of July. Soldiers from nearby Camp Lincoln would salute as they marched past. … Continue reading

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‘Bock Beer Day’, 1870s-’80s

“Today is Bock Beer Day, and the boys will all imbibe freely of the foaming extract of hops,” the Illinois State Journal predicted the morning of May 1, 1882. It didn’t always end happily for “the boys.” Bock beer is … Continue reading

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Edmund D. Taylor, (not the) ‘father of the greenback’

Edmund “Dick” Taylor was a legislator, businessman and investor. He was one of the winners in the only direct election Abraham Lincoln ever lost. And he probably wasn’t “the father of the greenback.” Taylor (1804-91) lived in Springfield in the … Continue reading

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Top income tax payers, 1863

To finance the Civil War, Congress and President Abraham Lincoln imposed the first nationwide income tax in 1861. Changes the next year made the tax progressive – people with incomes of less than $600 a year (about $18,000 in 2024) … Continue reading

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Frank Simmons Books, Stationery and Art

The Frank Simmons stationery store commemorated the 100th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration as president with a unique and potentially lucrative certificate: If someone paid $100 on the anniversary date, April 30, 1889, the certificate said, the store would repay … Continue reading

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The Hammerslough/Rosenwald family, clothiers

The Capitol Clothing House opened in Springfield in 1856 with the slogan “Low Prices and Good Goods.” Aside from providing inexpensive, ready-to-wear clothes to pre-Civil War Springfield, the Capitol Clothing House is the reason Springfield can boast that it was … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Historic Sites, Jewish, Lincoln Home, Lincoln Tomb, Lincoln, Abraham, Prominent figures | 1 Comment

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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Early movie theaters in Springfield

Motion picture exhibition in Springfield began in earnest around 1905. That year, four local theaters were screening short silent films in addition to presenting live vaudeville acts. Nickelodeon theaters, where movies were the prime attraction instead of a sideshow, became popular … Continue reading

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First moving picture/first full-time movie theater

It’s impossible to know for sure when Springfield residents saw their first “moving picture,” but the likely dates are Jan. 1-2, 1897, when the Stephenson Post of the Grand Army of the Republic held a fundraiser at the Central Music … Continue reading

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