Category Archives: Celebrations

First wedding (1820)

The first marriage ever performed in Sangamon County took place in a log cabin near Cantrall on Nov. 2, 1820. In a pioneer community, the event required some improvisation, including a legless piano and a fake wedding cake. The happy … 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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Springfield, “The Flower City”

Springfield’s sometime-nickname, “The Flower City,” apparently originated with a Chicago newspaper story published in 1857. But it didn’t catch on for another 20 years, at first mainly when local improvement advocates complained that the city – particularly its muddy streets … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Celebrations, Illinois State Fair, Local government, Spectacles, Women | 2 Comments

“The Gay ’90s” in Springfield

In 1943, V.Y. Dallman, longtime editor and columnist for the Illinois State Register, published a three-part reminiscence of the “Gay ‘90s” – at least, as they were experienced by Springfield’s upper crust. The series was written by a certified member … Continue reading

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Coney Island restaurant

On a sunny April day in 1989, hungry Springfieldians lined up to savor a hot dog from the Coney Island Restaurant at 114 N. Sixth St.  The line, which wrapped around the block, included citizens from all walks of life, … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Celebrations, Ethnic groups, Greeks, Prominent figures, Restaurants | 2 Comments

Grand Army of the Republic parade, 1932 (video)

Aging but still vital, more than 700 veterans of the Union Army marched through downtown Springfield as part of the 1932 national encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic. Movie cameras captured part of parade, which was held on … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, Military, Videos | 1 Comment

Ethnic Festival (1974-2014)

Where could you go for a bowl of Polish biogs and a side of Irish soda bread, Lithuanian kugelis and a plate of nutty rugelach, some Greek spanakopita and then top it off with homemade German apfelstrudel?  The Ethnic Festival … Continue reading

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July 4 balloon ascension, 1858

Two balloonists were the talk of Independence Day 1858 in Springfield. The balloons were a traveling show, piloted by the “celebrated aeronauts … Messrs. White and Brooks,” the Illinois State Journal reported on July 6, 1858. “An immense crowd congregated … Continue reading

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U.S. Grant marches to Island Grove, 1861

In 1927, Benjamin Warfield Brown, the son of agricultural pioneer James N. Brown, published a short memory of then-Col. U.S. Grant’s 1861 visit to the Brown family farm in western Sangamon County. The visit turned out to be, literally, part … Continue reading

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Thanksgiving charity, 1921

Special meals were the order of the day for Thanksgiving 1921 at local prisons, orphanages and homes for the poor, sick and aged. And disabled veterans got a bonus that weekend: an exclusive performance by poet Carl Sandburg. A look … Continue reading

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