Category Archives: Museums

U.S. Grant speech at Lincoln Tomb dedication, 1874

President Ulysses Grant was not the main speaker when Abraham Lincoln’s tomb was dedicated on Oct. 15, 1874. Grant was asked to deliver the official dedication address, but declined. He did, however, did give a short speech at the ceremony, … 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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Thorne Deuel, museum director

Thorne Deuel, director of the Illinois State Museum for nearly 25 years, literally made it the institution it is today. Deuel (1890-1984) was a research associate at the University of Chicago, specializing in anthropology and archaeology related to Native Americans … Continue reading

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Robert Preston Taylor (Lincoln College of Law, Illinois State Museum)

By one measurement, Robert Preston Taylor (1876-1951) goes into history as the first African-American graduate of the old Lincoln College of Law in Springfield. But that would ignore Taylor’s more significant achievement: bringing to life exhibits at the Illinois State … Continue reading

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Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame members, Sangamon County

The Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame includes plaques for a dozen – or so, depending on how you count them – inductees from Williamsville to Divernon in Sangamon County. U.S. Route 66, “the Mother Road,” probably the most famous … Continue reading

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Lincoln Tomb statuary (added 1931)

The statuettes inside the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site were supposed to be urns. And the Gutzon Borglum bust just outside the tomb – the one people rub the nose of – was supposed to be indoors. The interior of … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Historic Sites, Lincoln Tomb, Lincoln, Abraham, Museums, National Register, Presidents, Prominent figures, State government, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Benjamin Stephenson and the Grand Army of the Republic

Update: The Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Museum, mentioned in this entry and featured in photos above and below, closed in 2023. Its collection was moved to the Gen. John A. Logan Museum in Murphysboro. Somewhere in Mississippi in … Continue reading

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Millie, the Illinois State Museum Mastodon

“Millie,” the Illinois State Museum’s mastodon skeleton, arrived in Springfield in pieces starting in fall 1974. Like those of many mastodon skeletons on display around the world, Millie’s bones actually are fiberglass composites. The original bones came mostly from a … Continue reading

Posted in Animals, Museums, Prehistory, Science, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Old Capitol restoration, 1960s

Before the Old State Capitol was restored to the way it looked in the 1850s, the building housed Springfield’s public restrooms. You could tell by the odor. Earl “Wally” Henderson (1931-2016), co-founder with Don Ferry of the Ferry & Henderson … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, First Citizens, Historic Sites, Illinois capital, Local government, Museums, National Register, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, State government | Leave a comment

The Lincoln Home after the Lincolns (1861-1953)

For nearly a century after Abraham and Mary Lincoln left it, other people lived in and managed their former home at Eighth and Jackson streets. Among the eclectic group were a railroad executive, a couple of politicians, a physician, an … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Historic Sites, John T. Stuart, Lincoln Home, Museums, Prominent figures, State government | 7 Comments