Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sangamo Club

The very first Sangamo Club boasted a technological marvel: a telephone that could be raised and lowered between the first and second floors. The Sangamo Club, founded in 1890, closed, apparently permanently, in June 2023. Over 133 years in existence, … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Buildings, Prominent figures, Social life, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Springfield loses a newspaper, 1919

The News-Record, the last credible challenger to the Illinois State Journal and Illinois State Register in Springfield’s daily newspaper market, published its final edition on May 5, 1919. The closure was a good deal for everybody concerned … except maybe … Continue reading

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Saloon free lunches

In November 1927, Illinois State Journal writer A.L. Bowen embarked on a three-day series of columns remembering the restaurants, saloons and hotels that dotted downtown Springfield when he arrived in the city at the turn of the 20th century. The … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Hotels & taverns, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sam Willis, chef

Thousands of African-Americans fled Springfield in the wake of the 1908 race riot. The city’s best chef may have been one. Samuel Willis (1856-1920), a native of Virginia, moved to Springfield in the 1870s. He apparently learned the restaurant business … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Business, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

John Rinaker Jr., architect

The cornerstone was laid for the Exposition Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on July 4, 1894. The granite stone, hewn by the Springfield firm of Richter & Doland, was inserted in a corner nook of the building. It was … Continue reading

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‘The Great Klaholt robbery’, 1883

One hundred-forty years ago this week, “adroit cracksmen” made away – briefly – with what probably is the most lucrative burglary haul in Springfield history. The theft was carefully planned. The getaway, apparently, was not. The theft took place in … Continue reading

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Susan Lawrence’s secret marriage

Susan Lawrence Dana and Lawrence Joergen-Dahl married secretly on March 19, 1912.  It took another two months for Springfield to become aware of the wedding. The marriage was certainly a love match for Dana (1862-1946), the wealthy socialite who a … Continue reading

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Riverton High School boys basketball, 1949-50

Frank Santarelli assembled what turned out to be a great Riverton boys basketball team on a cold November afternoon in 1949. Santarelli, himself a Riverton alumnus, coached the Hawks from 1935 through 1942 and 1946 through 1957. The 1949-50 team … Continue reading

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Memorial Pool

On June 16, 1928, a crowd of about 750 people attended the grand opening of Soldiers’ and Sailors Memorial Pool on Springfield’s north end. The pool was named to honor all U.S. service personnel who perished in wars spanning the … Continue reading

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Gov. Len Small arrested, 1921

The Aug. 9, 1921, arrest of Gov. Len Small for alleged corruption created a daylong drama in Springfield. It was performed on three stages: the Capitol, the governor’s mansion and the Sangamon County Courthouse. Stars included Small, county Sheriff Henry … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Illinois capital, Law enforcement, Local government, Politics, Prominent figures, Spectacles, State government, Uncategorized | Leave a comment