JANUARY 12, Monday 6:00- 8:00 PM
**CENTENNIAL BUSINESS RECEPTION OLD STATE CAPTIOL**
The Sangamon County Historical Society and the Old State Capitol Foundation are collaborating on a reception to honor the achievements of Springfield’s commercial centennial businesses. It became apparent to us last summer, when we were preparing the boards about centennial businesses to be displayed in the Historama area at the Cemetery Walk, that to survive that long, businesses had to successfully adjust to a great many changes over the years, and were due our admiration and recognition. After the walk several people asked where the boards might be displayed again to be examined in a more leisurely fashion. Carol Andrews, Site manager of the Old State Capitol, has generously offered to display the boards during January.
In order to honor not only those centennial businesses for whom we have boards, but all of those existing in the community (of which we are aware), we are having the reception, with a short program to illustrate some of the changes, and all society members will receive an invitation to attend. Guests will be charged a fee. Please mark the date on your calendars and plan to help us
While our enthusiasm for this project runs high, we have to admit to being on a very inadequate budget, and would appreciate donations to this endeavor. If you are willing to help, please send a check, identifying your contribution, to SCHS, 308 E. Adams, Springfield, 62701. If you would like to volunteer your help, please contact Nancy Chapin 483-2376.
JANUARY 14, Wednesday, 5:00 PM SCHS BOARD MEETING
JANUARY 20 SCHS MEETING AND PROGRAM
November’s program, held at the Illinois State Military Museum at Camp Lincoln, opened our eyes to an institution that has been in our midst since 1878, but has been little known. A recent move to the newly remodeled ‘castle’, built by Springfield’s noted stone mason, James Culver, in 1903 on the Camp Lincoln grounds, has given the museum new life and visibility.
The museum, occupied various locations in the Centennial building
for a number of years, but has languished in a barracks building
on the Camp Lincoln grounds for the last few decades. Now in its
new home, the 10,000 artifacts currently held by the museum can
be properly organized and displayed. Swords, firearms, uniforms
and a vast assortment of other military memorabilia from the Black
Hawk War to the Gulf War are displayed on the second floor of the
In addition to the items now displayed in the museum, Whitlock explained the process involved in the retrieval, storing and ultimate restoration of the 950 flags now in the museum’s meticulously prepared storage on the grounds. Moving the flags from the centennial building this fall, identifying and cataloging them and storing them has been a major effort.
The museum promises to become a much more prominent part of the
community in its new, home. It is open Tuesday through Saturday
from 1:00 - 4:30 PM, or by appointment and is well worth the effort
BYLAW CHANGES BEING CONSIDERED
The Board is currently considering some changes in the By-laws of the society and will be voting on them at their January Board meeting. These changes will simplify the books of the society. You are welcome to attend the Board meeting with your comments.
• Delete Section 2 of Article 1 as all of the Society’s
programs are open to the entire community, and the amount accumulated
from Sustaining memberships each year does not justify tracking
it separately ($278 in 2003).
Section 1. Any person interested in the history of Sangamon County
who applies for membership in any classification of membership
and who tenders the necessary dues shall thereby become a member.
• Change Section 3 to 2 as a result of deletion above and change earnings from life membership to be used in support of those memberships in subsequent years. Change Section 4 to 3.
Section 32. Money from life memberships shall be segregated in a special fund and retained as an endowment. Interest or earnings from the life membership endowment fund shall be accumulated and used for projects of an historical nature used to maintain life memberships.
Section 43. Annual dues shall be payable in the month of June, and members in arrears more than four months after payment is due shall be dropped from membership.
• Gives option to store materials at SVC instead of renting
a safe deposit box. (Certificate, seal, CDs)
2004 CEMETERY WALK
OCTOBER 3 has been set as the date for the “8th Annual Walk Through Oak Ridge Cemetery”. Names from gravesites have been chosen and need to be researched. We need researchers and would welcome new volunteers!
We plan to have a Historama area and concession again this year, though they may be moved to a different location in order to attract more visitors (and less bugs!).
Actually we need additional volunteers for a lot of things for the cemetery walk. The cemetery walk is our biggest project and fund raiser of the year. If you would be willing to help in any fashion, please contact Nancy Chapin 483-2376.
EMAIL ADDRESS CHANGE
The email address of the society has changed. To contact the society, please use firstname.lastname@example.org in the future.
January 20 The Kelly Family of Springfield Katie
Watch for your invitation to the Centennial Business reception January 12!
No newsletter in January, so remember the date for the January 20th program!
FEBRUARY SCHS HAPPENINGS
FEBRUARY 11, Wednesday, 5:00 PM SCHS BOARD MEETING
FEBRUARY 17, Tuesday, 7:00 PM SCHS PROGRAM
"Abraham Lincoln: Ironies, Coincidences,
Kim Bauer, Curator Henry Horner Collection, ISHL
Have you ever wondered what kind of connection the Booth's had with the Lincoln's before that fatal night of April 14, 1865? Why is it ironic that Abraham Lincoln's image is used in certain advertising? And, what the heck does the Cleveland, Ohio Courthouse have to do with Abraham Lincoln's assassination and death?" Well, the answer to these and many more improbable Abraham Lincoln events will now be revealed in Mr. Kim Bauer's presentation.
Kim Matthew Bauer has a Bachelors and Masters degree in history from Eastern Illinois University. He has held his current position as Lincoln Curator for the Henry Horner Lincoln Collection at the Illinois State Historical Library for the past nine years. The distinguished Horner Collection is the largest pre-presidential collection concerning Abraham Lincoln in the United States.
Mr. Bauer is the author of a dozen articles and book reviews on President Lincoln. A proud resident of Decatur for the past 14 years, he and his wife, Joan, are the proud parents of two children, Rachel, 11 years, and Dylan, 4 years old.
Note: Thanks to the generosity of John Paul and Perry Hall, the parking garage under the Old State Capitol will be open on that Tuesday night for your convenience. Drive in the 6th Street entrance and take a ticket, but you will not be charged for parking. If you plan to arrive on foot, the kiosk on the Adams Street mall, in front of the Feed Store, will be open until 7:30 PM. Go to level ‘UL’ and walk across the garage into the lower level of the OSC. The Historical Library is on your left.
FEBRUARY 7, 1:00 PM – Museum of Funeral Customs
FEBRUARY 11 6:00 PM Lincoln Library
FEBRUARY 12 - LINCOLN’S 195th BIRTHDAY
NPS - Lincoln Home Visitor’s Center - Free
Abraham Lincoln Symposium - Free
January 12, Old State Capitol.
Curtis Mann presented a fascinating program entitled “A Determined Lot – A History of Springfield Business”, which included about forty pictures gathered from the archives of the Sangamon Valley Collection.
The display boards of nine of the centennial businesses that were prepared last fall as part of the cemetery walk were on display in the rotunda and will be available for viewing until February 10th. They provide a fascinating insight into the development of the community.
The Old State Capitol, the Old State Capitol Foundation and the
Sangamon County Historical Society jointly sponsored the reception,
with the aid and support of the Mayor’s office, but the reception
would not have been a success without the contributions of many
contributors and businesses. Maldaners donated a great deal of
the food they provided for the reception and the Corkscrew Wine
Emporium donated two cases of wine! Phyllis Brissenden, Wally and
Brynn Henderson, John and Katie Huther, Bill and Julie Kellner,
Barbara Mason, Janice Petterchak and Sarah Robinson all contributed
additional wine, while Dan Bannister, John Chapin, Alice Kaige,
Betty Tabor Woods and Peggy Wright made much needed cash donations
to the endeavor. Katie Spindell, Di Lehmann Pokorski and Sue Wall
also provided valuable help to the project. To each and all of
them we are most grateful. With the above donations we were able
to pay all of our bills and have a grand total of $6.92 left over!
And this report cannot end without thanking Carol Andrews, (site manager of the Old State Capitol), for her generosity, enthusiasm and hard work which made it all happen in the first place!
Katie Spindell presented a captivating account of Springfield,’ first settlers, the Kelley family, to a large crowd of people on January 20. She became interested in their odyssey to Illinois because her late husband was a descendent of John Kelley, the first of the family to move here. Though his brother, Elisha, had first discovered the area near Spring Creek the year before, and returned to North Carolina to entice his whole family to move to Illinois, John Kelley was the first of the family to move into the area, in 1819, and build a cabin. His brothers soon followed and built their own cabins in the general area. John and his wife established a boarding house wherein many of the early settlers stayed until such time as they could provide their own housing; Elijah Iles spent a whole year as a boarder before his own place was completed. John Kelley procured the contract to build the first county court house in Springfield, for the princely sum of $42.50.
Members of the Kelley clan were also instrumental in arranging to have the permanent county seat awarded to Springfield, as it was a Kelley in-law who led the scouting party on the circuitous route to the other contestant, Sangamo Town, causing the selectors to think it was too difficult a location to reach for a county seat.
Mrs. Spindell pointed out that John Kelley is not popularly recognized as the ‘first citizen’ due to his unfortunate demise just 18 days before the land office opened and he could lay claim to the lands he had settled.
After John Kelley’s death, the family gradually dispersed to other areas. A segment of the family settled on a farm in Curran Township and there is still a graveyard there containing family members. Mrs. Spindell was instrumental in having that cemetery rededicated last fall. Gradually the family moved out of the area entirely, leaving only their legacy of ‘first settler’ to those who really know their history.
Mrs. Spindell brought a great many documents and other materials which the audience enjoyed reviewing both before and after the program. At the end of the program it was discovered that four Kelley descendents were in the audience, and they are pictured here with the speaker.
The board passed the proposed by-law changes (see Dec.-Jan. Historico) at their January Board meeting. These changes abolish the fund from sustaining memberships; designated the Life membership fund to support Life memberships; and provided the option of storing materials in the Sangamon Valley Collection of the Lincoln Library in lieu of renting a safety box.
2004 CEMETERY WALK
The Cemetery Walk is both popular with the community and a necessary fund raiser for the Society, but we need your help. We need research volunteers now and lots of volunteers on October 3. Please contact Nancy Chapin at 483-2376, or email@example.com if you are willing to help us out.
BOOK ABOUT THE ILLINOIS WATCH COMPANY
When Doug Pokorski presented his review of the Illinois Watch Company for the October program, it was announced that Fredric J. Friedberg would soon have a book out on the company. Mr. Friedberg is now selling the book, The Illinois Watch, The Life and Times of a Great American Watch Company. He is offering a signed edition, for $67.00 plus $5.00 shipping. (Retail price is to be $79.00) If you are interested, please contact Fred at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (800)421-1968, Ext 5520. You can also mail a check or money order to Fred at 5319 University Dr., #610, Irvine, CA 92612.
The 2004 Illinois History Symposium Committee invites proposals
for future programs. The Symposium is open to papers on any aspect
of the State's history, culture, politics, geography, literature,
archaeology, and related fields such as archives, historic sites,
and museums in Illinois. The Committee welcomes proposals from
non-professional as well as professionals historians, undergraduate
as well as graduate students from anyone regardless of age or affiliation
whose research is relevant to Illinois history. The 2004 theme
of the Illinois History Symposium is "Engineering Illinois:
Science, Medicine, and Technology in the Prairie State since 1818."
PAWNEE HISTORY BOOK
Edward J. Russo will be the featured speaker of the Society’s spring tour. Russo, Springfield’s City Historian, will take us on a tour of "Lost Springfield," focusing on the community as it was a century-and-more ago--and point out clues of what remains. Participants will see evidence of growth patterns, ie: "Why did the city grow to the southwest?" for example-- and get a sense of the cultural, architectural and social forces that have shaped the city for the last century. The tour will run from 2:00 to 4 p.m. on Sunday May 16.
There will be a form in the March Historico for you to reserve an early seat for this tour. It is necessary to know numbers fairly early to reserve the bus, which will be handicapped accessible. The fee for members will be $20.00, and non-members $25.00.
One of the earliest but least known settlements in Sangamon County was the community of Fancy Grove. Located along the headwaters of Fancy Creek in modern-day Williams Township about three miles southwest of the village of Williamsville, Fancy Grove was unique in that most of its residents consisted of families from the state of New York. One of its residents, Stephen Stillman, is credited with giving the Grove its name as well as Fancy Creek. Stillman bought the southeast quarter of Section 8 in which a grove of trees stood. Rather than being a platted town or village, Fancy Grove was a collection of farms located across four adjoining sections of land, 7, 8, 17 and 18. The Stillman family consisting of the mother, Abigail, along with her sons, Stephen, Isaiah and a daughter arrived in Sangamon County in the spring of 1820 when it was a part of Madison County. James Stewart, who was married to Roxanna Stillman, arrived in Sangamon County in 1819 but joined the Stillmans upon their arrival. Another large family from New York, the Phelps, also arrived in Fancy Grove in 1820. Judge Stephen Phelps had served as a judge in his native state and migrated west with his sons and daughters to the Illinois frontier. One son, Alexis, purchased land in Section 20, just south of the Grove. The last family group consisted of three men who were related through marriage, Charles Boyd, John Dixon and Oliver Kellogg. Boyd and Kellogg were married to sisters of John Dixon and Dixon was married to a sister of Boyd’s. Charles Boyd and John Dixon were tailors in New York City who struck out for Illinois in 1820.
A few businesses along with a post office were established in the early 1820s. William Hamilton and Enoch March brought in a load of store goods in 1821 and sold them to Myron Phelps in 1822. Phelps ran the store for a few years. Matthew Harburt built a horse mill (A horse mill was an early type of mill used to grind corn into meal and sometimes wheat into flour. The owner of the mill would take a percentage of the ground corn as his fee. The customers often had to supply their own horses which were used to turn the grindstones. Most of the early horsemills were rude affairs put together by individuals using stones that happened to be in the area. The output of these mills was slow and sometimes a person had to wait a day or more to get his turn at the mill.) and a cabin for customers to stay in while waiting their turn at the mill. William Proctor, a son-in-law of Judge Phelps, built a tannery. The post office, which was known as Fancy Grove, was conducted in the home of Stephen Stillman, who served as postmaster.
For no particular reason, the community began to break up around 1825. The Phelps family moved across the Illinois River and settled in Lewiston. Many members of the Stillman family relocated to Peoria along with John Dixon who served as the first county clerk for Peoria County. Dixon later bought a ferry and founded the town of Dixon. Charles Boyd and Oliver Kellogg also moved north and settled in other parts of the state.
Matthew Harburt took down his mill and moved it into McLean County. Some members such as James Stewart remained and farmed the land for many years afterward.
ANNALS OF SANGAMON COUNTY
THE SOCIETY AND LINCOLN LIBRARY
Society members may not be fully aware of the close relationship that has flourished for over 30 years between our organization and the staff and holdings of Lincoln Library’s Sangamon Valley Collection (SVC). Some aspects of that linkage are easily apparent: the superb local history collection that serves us on Lincoln Library’s 3rd floor, and the generosity of many of our members in donating old books and photographs to SVC. Two others are less familiar and therefore warrant retelling.
In the early 1970's city leaders decided to replace the overcrowded Lincoln Library with a spacious new facility. Library director at that time was Robert Wagenknecht, an active member (and later president) of SCHS. At Bob’s request the society named a committee to advise him on various issues related to a local history room he wanted to include in the new building. Members of the committee included Lowell Anderson, Floyd Barringer, Cullom Davis, Margaret Graber, John Hayes, Jerry Storm, and Roy Thomas. The committee met with Bob perhaps a half dozen times, in 1973 and 1974. We discussed the room’s design and location, agreeing that it had to be large enough to accommodate future growth. Bob also asked us to help formulate policies for the collection’s geographic scope (Sangamon Valley) and range of media (print, manuscripts, audio and visual materials). We also advised him on proposed acquisitions, loans, and donations to augment the holdings.
Some of our recommendations, in retrospect, bordered on the grandiose. For example we hoped the facility might include a photography lab and darkroom, and even space and equipment for rare book repair. On most points, however, Bob enthusiastically concurred.
A final question was what kind of ongoing relationship should exist between SVC and SCHS. It was not realistic to fashion an official tie between the publicly funded municipal library and our private membership organization, but the committee did persuade the SCHS board to commit itself to a “program of tangible and continuing support.” That pledge has been honored, but only fitfully, over the past 30 years.
The second connection centers on the talented and dedicated librarians at SVC who have contributed enormously to our local history in general and the Society in particular. Bob Wagenknecht was both astute and fortunate to hire a young college student, Ed Russo, to begin amassing and organizing the collection well before the new building was completed. As SVC director (and later City Historian as well), Ed oversaw every aspect of its rapid growth and development. His gifted colleagues, Karen Graff, Linda Garvert, and Curtis Mann, have made their own significant contributions. Their service to our Society, through program offerings and leadership positions, has been extraordinary.
The SVC/SCHS linkage is a precious relationship that we dare not fail to nourish and celebrate.
February 17 Abraham Lincoln: Ironies, Coincidences, and Just Weird
March 16 The Parke-Sherman Company Madeline Gumble
MARCH 10, Wednesday, 5:00 PM SCHS BOARD MEETING
MARCH 16, Tuesday, 7:00 PM SCHS PROGRAM
PRECISION MADE IN SPRINGFIELD:
Park Sherman was an important Springfield company
for several decades ending with the sale of the company to a New
Jersey firm in 1960. They mass-produced smoking accessories, particularly
lighters, as well as a multitude of office, novelty, and other
items. The presentation will begin with the company roots in the
carbide lantern business in Chicago, about how they became a Springfield
company, about the several company names used, will cover the various
patents acquired, and will describe what happened to the company
and its various product lines after 1960.
MARCH 20, 3:00 PM – Vachel Lindsay Association
ROSS FAMILY DONATION
Thanks to the Dorthy and North Ross who gave the Society some small replicas of the Mt. Pulaski Court House made by North to sell for the benefit of the Publication Fund.
As many of you probably know, the Sangamon County Historical
Society has for more than 40 years owned tiny Pioneer Park, in
CONTRIBUTION TO SANGAMON VALLEY COLLECTION
When Carroll Hall died in 1995 he left a bequest to the Society
with the appeal that the income from it be given to the SVC to
use for needs they had that were not covered by the library budget.
For several years the Society was able to provide funds to enable
the SVC to make prints from a large collection of glass plates
that had been donated to them. This year the Board voted to donate
the income received from the bequest to enable the SVC to purchase
a free standing computer with a DVD reader and scanner. The SVC
receives requests from time to time for copies/scans of some of
its archival photos and documents, and it can not add a scanner
to the library network computers. Additionally the SVC has received
a generous gift of a DVD set of The Lincoln Legal Papers from Cullom
Davis. We can expect more archival material to become available
in the DVD format, but SVC will need a DVD reader to access them.
SCHS NEW MEMBER POLICY
Membership renewal forms will be included with the June issue of the Historico.
The following is a list of the Presidents of the Sangamon County Historical Society since its inception.
This is a reminder that Edward J. Russo will be the featured speaker on the Society’s spring tour. Russo, Springfield’s City Historian, will take us on a tour of "Lost Springfield," focusing on the community as it was a century-and-more ago--and point out clues of what remains. Participants will see evidence of growth patterns, ie: "Why did the city grow to the southwest?" for example-- and get a sense of the cultural, architectural and social forces that have shaped the city for the last century. The tour will run from 2:00 to 4 p.m. on Sunday May 16.
There will be a form in the April Historico to sign up, but if you wish to ensure a place by reserving your seat now, we already have some reservations in, please send your check to: SCHS, 308 E. Adams, Spfld. IL 62701 There is a handicapped accessible seat on the bus. When the bus fills, no unpaid reservations will be honored. The fee for members will be $20.00, and non-members $25.00.
CASCADE - Gone for over 50 years, but not forgotten
In the summer of 1950 four canoers exploring the South Fork of
the Sangamon from Taylorville had their fill after 27 ½ miles,
and pulled out at a bridge located near prominent rapids. I was
one of the canoers, as was Chris Patton.
A copy of Mr. Trotter’s book can be found in the Sangamon Valley Collection. It’s a delight.
CITY ORDINANCE OF 1851
Editors note: With election time coming this seemed like an appropriate notice. Would be thieves be warned that ordinances tend to just remain ‘on the books’, and this one could be expensive if inflation is applied to the fine.
APRIL 20, Tuesday,, 7:00 PM SCHS PROGRAM
A Slide Show and Narrative
Photography was first perfected in Paris, France in 1837. By 1845, the technology had crossed the Atlantic and arrived in Springfield, a small town on America's western frontier. A year later, Springfield photographer Nicholas Shepherd took the first known photographs (daguerreotypes) of Abraham and Mary Lincoln, now treasured American icons housed at the Smithsonian. Several other Springfield photographers photographed Lincoln--Preston Butler, Christopher German, William Marsh. A picture taken by one of these men was used to prepare the engraving for the $5 bill. Who were these men and why did Lincoln pick them to take his picture? Why is one buried in an unmarked grave in Oak Ridge Cemetery? It is an amazing intersection of history that photography and Lincoln grew to prominence at the same point in history. If photography had been developed 20 years later, we would have no photographs of Lincoln. From 1846 until the end of the 19th century, Springfield had over 100 photographers. Slides of photographs taken by many of these photographers will be shown--the Lincolns, townspeople, farmers, children, weddings, anniversaries, buildings, monuments, fires, ice storms. The photographs are an evocative step back into 19th century Springfield. Don't miss it!
Richard E. Hart, a practicing attorney in Springfield for the
last thirty-six years, is a partner in the firm of Hart, Southworth & Witsman.
And in his spare time he plays with his grandchildren!
April 14, 6:00-7:00 PM – Spfld. Art. Association
April 21, 11:00 AM - Old State Capitol
April 17, 1:00 PM - Museum of Funeral Customs
With a marvelous display of her collection of Park Sherman memorabilia
as a back-drop, Madeline Gumble proceeded to tell her audience
about the development of the Park Sherman Company and its ‘Precision
Postscript to the program -
Following the program there was discussion about the amount of coal mining in the Springfield area and just how many mines there were, triggered by the many inventors the industry spawned who developed lamps and other articles for miners. Perry Hall agreed to look into the matter and reports that James Krohe’s Midnight at Noon lists 16 mines in the City of Springfield itself and 53 in the county. A directory of coal mines in Illinois put out by the Department of Energy and Natural Resources and the Illinois State Geological Survey in 1993 showed Sangamon County as having 58,670 acres of coal extracted by 1989, the 5th most productive county in the state.
Doug Pokorski enlightened us further about the mining industry in his Coal County report in the March 19 issue of Heartland, in which he described the conditions of the mine workers and the changing ethnic waves of mine workers to the area.
WE WELCOME NEW MEMBERS:
Norman Ray Buecker
CONTRIBUTIONS TO SANGAMON VALLEY COLLECTION
Last month we reported on the Board’s decision to contribute the income from the Carroll Hall bequest to the Sangamon Valley Collection for a computer and scanner, and requested donations to enlarge the amount available for such purchase. That request bore fruit! An additional $1,200.00 has been donated to add to what we had in hand, enabling SCHS to not only purchase the computer and scanner, but a table on which to put the computer. In reviewing with the staff of SVC just what priorities they put on their ‘needs’, we have developed a ‘wish list’ of items that we will attempt to fill as money becomes available. In the meantime we thank those who have contributed to the fund!
• Computer desk/table
Make your reservation now for the spring bus tour! Springfield Historian, Ed Russo, will lead us on a tour of Springfield focusing on the changing face of the community: the capitol complex change from residential to government buildings and parking; the manufacturing development along the 10th street rail corridor; the changing face of housing over the decades; the characteristics of specific neighborhoods such as Harvard Park, Cabbage Patch and the like; the remaining clues that show how the city grew and changed. The tour will begin at 2:00 PM at the Stratton Building parking lot, and end at 4:00 PM. The cost is $20.00 for members and $25.00 for non-members. There is a handicapped accessible seat on the bus.
NARRATED BUS TOUR ‘LOST SPRINGFIELD’ MAY 16,
I am currently a Sangamon County Historical Society Member ? I
am joining SCHS herewith ?
TO: Sangamon County Historical Society Members
FROM: Kathryn M. Harris, Vice President
DATE: March 24, 2004
RE: Committee Assignments
Please use the following form to note your replies. You may mail this to Robinson’s Office or you may bring it to our Annual Meeting.
Please return to Robinson’s Advertising Service, 308 East Adams, Springfield 62701 by July 15, 2004 or bring to our Annual Meeting on June 22 at the Center for the Arts.
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Genealogists and other researchers will soon have the opportunity to view some of the earliest death records available in Springfield. The Sangamon Valley Collection at Lincoln Library in collaboration with Oak Ridge Cemetery, the Illinois State Historical Library, and the Papers of Abraham Lincoln received a grant last fall to microfilm the first volume of internment records for the cemetery and create electronic digital images that will be available in the coming months on a database hosted by the Illinois Digital Archives on the internet. The first volume covers the first interments in the cemetery in March 1858 to February 1876. Information from the record includes name of deceased, date of death, date of interment, cause of death and place of birth.
Work first started with the conservator at the Illinois State Historical Library completing preservation work on the volume. Staff members of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln conducted microfilming of the volume and created a database for the indexing of the names. About four thousand names were added into the database. The digitized images and database have been sent to the Illinois State Library where they will be added to the Illinois Digital Archives. Funding for this grant awarded by the Illinois State Library, a Division of the Office of Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White, using funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the Federal Library Services and Technology Act.
SANGAMON VALLEY COLLECTION AND THE SANGAMON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
When Ed Russo retires from Lincoln Library at the end of March it will be a change in a partnership between Russo and the Sangamon Valley Collection on one hand and the Sangamon County Historical Society on the other.
Not only does the SVC function as the research library of the Historical Society, but Russo, 51, the founding director of the Sangamon Valley Collection, said the Historical Society was instrumental in getting the SVC up and running.
“I’ve always been overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity of the people in the historical society,” Russo said in a recent interview. “They’ve been very congenial people to work with from the first day.”
Early on, he said, the society featured the SVC prominently in its newsletter and promoted donations of pictures and other historical item to the library, he said. People associated with the society shared their time and expertise most generously with Russo, he said.
Bob Howard, Carroll Hall, Bob Wagenknecht, Don and Pat Henry, John Chapin, John Macpherson, Murray Hanes and Cullom Davis are just a few of the society members who helped Russo get off to a good start as a librarian and a historian.
“What started my writing career was Cullom Davis making a school paper I did on the architectural firm of Helmle and Helmle into a booklet as part of a bicentennial series of booklets the society published,” Russo said.
From that start, Russo went on to write numerous published articles and to author or co-author 10 books on county history.
Although Russo’s official role will change with his retirement. He will continue to be involved in researching and disseminating local history on a variety of fronts. He has two businesses, one related to historical architecture and landscaping and the other involved with general historic research and writing, and he remains a life member of the Historical Society. He also plans to volunteer for a while at the Sangamon Valley Collection to help with the transition to new leadership, whoever that turns out to be.
As he enters a new chapter of his life, Russo said he remains
grateful for all the help he’s been given over the years
by members of the Sangamon County Historical Society.
May 16 Bus Tour of ‘Lost Springfield,’ narrated by Ed Russo
May 18 “Letters to Mollie from Her Mormon Past: 1860-1912,” Gary Vitale
June 22 Annual Meeting at the Center for the Arts, Carl Volkmann
MAY 12, Wednesday, 5:00 PM SCHS BOARD MEETING
MAY 16, Sunday, 2:00 – 4:00 PM BUS TOUR OF ‘Lost
Park in the State Capitol Visitors’ Lot near Pasfield Street
MAY 18, Tuesday, 7:00 PM SCHS PROGRAM
By Gary C. Vitale
Gary C. Vitale is the husband of Mollie’s great-granddaughter, Jean, and, for 30 years, professor of English and speech at Springfield College in Illinois.
May 7th, 5:00 PM - Old State Capitol
May 7 – 8 - Vachel Lindsay Home
May 21st, 1:00 PM – Old State Capitol
May 22, - Vachel Lindsay Home
REPORT ON THE APRIL PROGRAM
An obviously expectant crowd, numbering over 80, was in attendance for Dick Hart’s talk and PowerPoint presentation on 19th century Springfield photographers, and they were certainly not disappointed. He began by pointing out that the photographic daguerreotype process was perfected in France in 1837, the same year that Springfield became the State Capitol and Abraham Lincoln moved to Springfield.
A chart was projected with the names and dates of the many photographers, about 100, who established businesses in Springfield between 1845 and 1900, including the five women photographers who did so during the period. Most of them were itinerants who remained in the community for periods lasting from just a few months to a few years; with only about 15 staying on to establish businesses lasting for more than 10 years. They typically established themselves on the square, on the second or third floor above going businesses operating on the street level, with the address of one often being used by his successors in turn. He displayed advertisements that appeared in the local papers soliciting customers, and sometimes also indicating other ‘talents’ the photographer had to sell, giving us a feeling of the business.
He pointed out that Abraham Lincoln’s political career was captured by these men, although the first known photographs of Abraham and Mary Lincoln taken in 1847 by Frederick Coombs, were for their private enjoyment. These they proudly hung over the mantel in their home on 7th street. His pictures of Lincoln with his developing beard were particularly interesting as they are unusual.
The photographic process changed through ones of ‘hard’ images, such as the daguerreotype, ambrotype and tintype; to the ‘paper’ images that enabled much less formal photos. Mr. Hart showed a grand collection of each, with groupings of men, women, children, couples etc. He pointed out that all photographs had ‘bookmarks’ on the front or back stating the photographer’s name and city. With the knowledge of when a photographer was working in this community, these ‘bookmarks’ may help to date a photograph. We need Dick’s chart to date old photographs that most of us have in the attic.
The coincidence of the development of photography paralleling the political career of Abraham Lincoln resulted in Lincoln becoming a recognizable world figure quickly.
Charles W. Adams
Be thinking of friends and acquaintances that might be interested
in belonging to the Sangamon Country Historical Society and invite
them to join you for the Annual meeting in June; call Robinson’s
(522-2500) and ask that they be sent a brochure; or just ask them
to give you their check for a membership. There have been some
wonderful programs this year, and more in the works for next year.
The Society needs people to support the efforts!
It’s been a couple of months since I shared with you the board’s decision to divest the society of ownership of Pioneer Park. For those of you who are wondering what’s been happening on that front, here’s an update.
The Illinois Department of Transportation, which owns the nearby Sugar Creek Covered Bridge, declined our offer to donate the park to the department. Although they are the most logical recipients, because of the proximity of the bridge and the use of the bridge and the park by the same people, they took the position that they can only acquire property — even by donation — for the construction of roads and highways.
Informal approaches to a couple of not-for-profit organizations were also unsuccessful.
Then, while exploring the web site of the Department of Natural Resources, I came across a mention of the Division of Realty, whose responsibilities include handling donations of land to the department.
I made a quick call to the head of the division, told her what we had and asked if it was the kind of thing the department might be interested if. She said it was.
An internal review still has to be done by the department, and of course the legal niceties have to be taken care, so it’s by no means a done deal yet. Still, it’s a positive development, and hopefully I’ll be able to report something final, or very nearly final, to those of you who join us at the annual meeting in June.
Editor’s note: Our apologies for not giving Doug Pokorski credit last month for his interview with Ed Russo about Ed’s relationship with SCHS.
Lincoln library was able to obtain a new microfilm reader and printer through a grant awarded by the State Library. The library is offering training sessions on the new reader on May 8, 13, 22 and 25. Call 753-4900, Ext. 224 if you are interested.
They have also created a complete bibliography of microfilms available in booklet form which is available at the library.
The reception at Pasfield House in March, hosted by Tony Leone and co-hosted by the Society, to raise money to restore the maps recently acquired by the Sangamon Valley Collection was a great success. The goal to raise enough money for at least the first restoration has almost been reached. With $4,000.00 in hand, Curtis Mann took the 1876 map which was in greatest need of repair, to the Graphic Conservation Company in Chicago last week. The 1876 is very important because it actually outlines the placement of buildings on lots throughout the city as well as identifies ownership of land on the outskirts of town.
The other two maps were published in 1890 and 1902. All three of these maps are important because they are the only copies that we know to exist.
$12,000.00 to $14,000.00 will be needed to complete the restoration process of all the maps, and any contributions would be gratefully received. Checks can be made out to SCHS, earmarked for the map fund, and sent to 308 E. Adams (01).
SPRING BUS TOUR
The tour is sold out and we have a waiting list, in case anyone should cancel out, so call Robinson’s, 522-2500, if you wish to have your name on it.
ANNUAL MEETING AND MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS
The Annual meeting will be held at the Center for the Arts on Tuesday, June 22. Details will follow in the next Historico, but you can be sure there will be a raffle not to be missed. As is our custom, our President of 10 years ago will be the speaker, and that will be Carl Volkmann, who was President in 1993-1994. His presentation will be entitled, The New Lincoln Library: A Behind the Scenes Story. Mark your calendars now, and there will be the usual sign up form in the June Historico.
June also marks the end of our fiscal and membership year, and it will be time to renew your membership for next year. The form for the Annual meeting will very conveniently have a place on it for you to renew your membership, thus saving you not only an extra stamp, but an extra check when you pay for both at the same time!
Please be sure to enter your name on the form as you would like
it listed in the membership roster as we plan to put out a year
book next year and want to list you the way you would like to be
2004 ANNUAL MEETING
JUNE 22, 6:00 PM ANNUAL BANQUET, MEETING AND PROGRAM
Reservations limited and deadline is June16th!!
THE NEW LINCOLN LIBRARY:
Speaker: Carl Volkmann, President SCHS 1993-1994
The traditional raffle will be held, and members are urged to bring raffle donations to the meeting!
As you are all aware, Doug Pokorski, the Society’s President, died April 30th of a heart attack. Doug’s death is not only a loss to the Society, but to the whole community in which he was respected and highly valued as a journalist and as a historian. The Pokorski family has asked that memorials to Doug be made to the Douglas H. Pokorski Scholarship in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois at Springfield.(Checks may be made to: University of Illinois Foundation, UIS, Office of Development, 1 University Plaza, SPH-100, Springfield. IL 62703)
In addition the Society has rededicated the Publication Fund and named it the Pokorski Publication Fund in recognition of Doug’s particular interest in having the Society publish historical materials. Diane Pokorski has expressed gratification that he be remembered also for his historical interests. Those wishing to memorialize Doug’s historical interests are invited to additionally contribute to that fund. Checks should be made out to: SCHS, with Pokorski Publication Fund on the memo line and mailed to 308 E. Adams, 62701.
Vachel Lindsay Home
Old State Capitol
REPORT ON SPRING BUS TRIP
Ed Russo led a full bus load of passengers around Springfield on Sunday afternoon, pointing out the where and the why of the city’s growth, He stated that in the earliest days there was no transportation other than by foot, and the town was densely packed around the State Capitol square. Then the train tracks along the 10th street corridor opened up possibilities as commerce found it convenient to locate along that route. When the street car lines were established in the 1870s, the town could really spread out. Finally the automobile made it possible to locate most anywhere in an ever widening circle around the once central business area of downtown.
The transportation developments resulted in a change in land usage. Russo pointed out that the notorious Levee area had been redeveloped into the Horace Mann complex. He noted that there were once many small communities, such as Southtown, surrounding Springfield that were fairly complete within themselves but have now been incorporated into the city, leaving their commercial centers with the need to adapt to their new role in the larger community.
The street car lines enabled planned areas such as Hawthorne Place to develop residential grids with housing tiered by economic factors. The break up of large tracts, such as the Butler and Leland farms encouraged the development in the Southwest direction, and the development of the Park District further enhanced the desirability of ‘moving out’.
His talk was enhanced by a handout illustrating some of the changes that occurred over the century and a half growth.
Following the tour, Tony Leone hosted an reception at the charming, restored Pasfield House. It was an elegant end to a delightful and informative afternoon, and our thanks to Tony Leone for his generous hospitality!
Gary Vitale explained the background on his book Letters to Mollie from her Mormon past 1860-1912. The book is primarily a series of letters written to his wife’s great grandmother, frequently with explanations of the historical, social or relationship mentioned therein. Orphaned at the age of 8, this niece of Brigham Young grew up in various homes as a servant to the family in exchange for her room and board and pocket change. Vitale explained that it was considered improper at the time for a female child to stay with her father if her mother was deceased, and that it was therefore not unusual for girls to grow up under such circumstances. Mollie corresponded with both relatives and others in her situation over the years, the 111 body of letters thereby providing a picture of life of young people in the Midwest during the period.
Through the use of taped readings from the letters and pictures Vitale brought home both the hard work that was expected of the ‘servant girls’ and the development of their personal interests, such as fashion. He pointed out that they frequently shared pieces of cloth acquired by one or another and ideas for hats, etc. Their circumstances changed with marriage, when they finally acquired their own places.
As Mollie’s relatives were members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, striving to reestablish their religious views after the ‘Utah Mormons’ departed, the letters also provide in insight into that endeavor.
BRIDGE BIRTHDAY PARTY, AUGUST 28
The bridge over Lick Creek on Wagon Ford Road, near Chatham, will be 120 years old on this date. According to the Highway Commissioner’s Record 1884-1891, the bridge was built by P.E. Cane of Chicago for a bid totally $993.00. The bridge is 65’ long, with a 14’ driveway. The bridge has been determined eligible for National Register of Historic Places by IDOT and IHPA. The bridge was completed and accepted by Curran Township on August 28, 1884. Come and help celebrate its birthday! For directions call 483-2376
CEMETERY WALK - OCTOBER 3
Plans are progressing for the 8th Annual Walk through Oak Ridge Cemetery. Linda Garvert is in charge of researchers and the scripts are being finalized. Phil Funkenbusch has again agreed to direct the actors; and Carol Andrews will be in charge of costumes.
Katie Spindell is in charge of the Historama, which will have new features such as a ‘Hereafter’ booth to report on some surprises that occurred after the death of the various people portrayed; the Museum of Funeral Customs will have a power point presentation on the meanings of tombstone markings and a new and expanded concession stand will be available, run by Marian Leach. We are looking for some one who would like to sponsor the rental of a popcorn machine for the day. The rental is $100, and the sponsor’s name would be on the cart. A wonderful opportunity for advertising!
SCHS authors will be there, as well as representatives of various not for profit groups, and there may be more surprises to come! Put the date on your calendar! We really need more volunteers, so call Nancy Chapin 483-2376 if you can help. More details will follow in the September Historico.
WELCOME NEW LIFE MEMBERS
Bradley S. Churchill
SLATE OF OFFICERS FOR 2004-2005
The Board has approved the following slate of Officers and Directors
to be presented at the Annual Meeting:
COMMITTEES FOR 2004-2005
Kathryn Harris, incoming President, has asked for your help filling committees for the upcoming year. Members are needed for: Program, Finance, Membership, Publications and Special Events (Special events include bus tours, cemetery walk, receptions, etc) committees. If you would be willing to serve in any of these areas, please so indicate on the Annual dinner/renewal form enclosed.
To save you a stamp (and a second check) the annual meeting reservation form is also a membership renewal form. Please do renew your membership at this time! Notices will go out later to those that haven’t renewed, but that is an extra expense for the Society, and we ask your help in saving those costs by renewing now!
Please be sure that you list your name on the form as you would like to have it listed on the membership list.
1ST CALL FOR FALL BUS TOUR
As we end another year, it seems appropriate to thank some of those who have either worked unsung or given money or labor well beyond what might be expected. People like Karen Everingham who keeps up the web site and posts the Historico each month; Janice Petterchak who handles our publicity and sees that program announcements appear in the paper; Curtis Mann who is called on again and again to do all sorts of special things for us – and always seems to come through; Carol Andrews for making the Centennial Business Reception possible against all odds; Cullom Davis, Elizabeth Weir, John Paul and Perry Hall who all came forward with generous gifts when they were needed;; The Corkscrew Wine Emporium for donating wine to the Business reception; and Mary Marata and Theresa Powers at Robinsons, who only charge us for a portion of what they do for us. Without special people like those above, we wouldn’t be able to do all that we do, and we are most grateful to them!
SEPTEMBER 8, Wednesday, 5:00 PM BOARD MEETING
SEPTEMBER 21, Tuesday, 7:00 PM at:
THE PASFIELDS – “REAL MUNICIPAL
This year’s Cemetery Walk will feature seven portrayals of those buried in Oak Ridge cemetery. They include: John Krous, proprietor of Krous Park on the city’s west side; Dr. Alexander Shields of both Springfield and Cotton Hill; Maria Warren Turney who will tell us about an elegant wedding held at the Turney house; Jacob Ball who, with his brother, developed a statewide cigar business; Roland Diller, first State licensed pharmacist and story teller extraordinaire; Mary Ellen Freeman Hughes who will tell of their family’s life in the 19th century; and Alice Stuve Jarrett who seeks to preserve her family’s name and accomplishments.
There will also be an expanded ‘Historama’ area featuring exhibits by historical associations; book sellers; a ‘Here and Hereafter’ booth with pictures and follow up stories of those portrayed; the Museum of Funeral Customs will have a presentation on tombstone markings; the Prairie Dulcimers will perform throughout the afternoon; and there will be a wonderful concession.
If you haven’t attended the Cemetery Walks before, don’t miss this one as it promises to be both fascinating and fun! The biggest crowds come right at noon, so you may find shorter lines if you plan a 2:00 arrival. (We do stop the start of tours at about 3:00, however.)
If you haven’t already been cornered and would be willing to volunteer, please call 483-2376.
Hope you signed up for the bus tour when the flyer came out! If you didn’t, don’t delay any longer as we expect it to fill quickly. The tour, which will depart from the Stratton building parking lot at 7:00 AM, will lunch and tour the Stone Hill Winery; stop at an Arts and Crafts Festival; tour the Deutschheim State Historic Site, the German School Museum, and return to Springfield at 8:45 PM
AROUND TOWN – and out
THRU SEPTEMBER 19th 6:00 PM til dark
This is an amazing maze in the shape of Lincoln’s head cut out of a corn field. Visitors are challenged to find 6 points in the maze to qualify for a prize. (Purists, the picture has been turned, so that North is now West)
Almost 85 people turned out at the Center for the Arts for the Annual Meeting. Following dinner, Kathryn Harris, President pro-tem, presided over the election of new Board members: R-Lou Barker, John Huther, Julie Kellner, Janice Petterchak, Enrique Unanue and Gary Vitale; and the election of Kathryn Harris as President, Virgilio Pilapil as Vice-President, Curtis Mann as Secretary and Nancy Chapin as Treasurer.
Most fittingly in this day when all the talk is of ‘some new library’ that may open in Springfield, Carl Volkmann, President of the Society 10 years ago, and hence designated speaker of the evening, presented the history of our tried and true Lincoln Library. He pointed out that the first building the library had of its own was funded in part by Andrew Carnegie in 1904, but at Carnegie’s request, named for Springfield’s famous son. That magnificent building served the community for 70 years. However, the building had not been designed for the number of books and other materials needed by a community of 90,000 people, nor to be handicapped accessible with its 35 step climb from street level to the main floor, so in 1974 our new, contemporary library building replaced it.
Mr. Volkmann discussed the various sites and configurations that were considered, but the conclusions drawn were that the most logical plan was to demolish the old building and replace it. Various efforts were made to preserve elements of the old building, from columns to statuary, and some were successful, though some disappeared from storage at the Fairgrounds, and the design of the new building ruled out incorporation of others. In particular the bust of Lincoln over the front entrance had deteriorated and it was determined that a new statue of the library’s namesake was needed. The modern interpretation of Lincoln’s figure was unveiled to a shocked audience, who had anticipated a traditional statue form. The sculptor explained that he felt the building’s modern, lineal design demanded a different, more modern approach to statuary design, and he had created the statue accordingly.
Mr. Volkmann accompanied his talk with a myriad of pictures, both old and new of the library in its past and present form, which served to remind us of what had been and how innovative the new building was to the community in 1974. And he reminded us that the new library was an award winning structure
The introduction of a repository for Sangamon County materials in the form of the Sangamon Valley Collection was one of the benefits made possible by the increased space; a benefit for which the Sangamon County Historical Society was instrumental in creating, and is ever grateful for its existence.
Mr. Volkmann ended his talk expressing concern about the confusion of names the coming of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library creates and offered up the suggestion that our community library be renamed the Lincoln-Lindsay Library as Vachel Lindsay was well known for his literary interests in this community.
The Center for the Arts was a fine place to hold the Annual Meeting, and the traditional raffle did well, raising $220.00 for the Society.
Thanks to Job Conger for the pictures.
WECOME NEW LIFE MEMBERS
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
Mr. and Mrs. Jay Mogerman
THE SOCIETY IS GRATEFUL FOR THE FOLLOWING DONATIONS:
IN MEMORY OF DR. BARRINGER
POKORSKI PUBLICATION FUND
CONGRATULATIONS TO CURTIS MANN
Curtis Mann has been appointed Lincoln Library’s Sangamon Valley Collections Manager following the retirement of Ed Russo. We look forward to continuing the fine relationship we have had with the staff of the SVC.
62707 ZIP CODES
The Postal Service recently broke up the 62707 zip code area into parts. If you had a 62707 zip code and it has changed, please contact Robinsons at 522-2500 and confirm your new zip code. Several of you have done so as you have renewed your memberships, but some haven’t and if the post office returns mail, it costs us money which a simple phone call could save.
The following article which seems to have been published in a Burlington paper and written by Bob Hansen, was recently published in the Hancock County Historical Society’s newsletter. Having heard some about those early camp meetings I found it interesting: They were often invaded by hecklers, the curious and even opportunists.
CHURCH CAMP MEETING
There is a romantic picture raffling about in our Midwestern cultural memory regarding the church camp meeting. We close our eyes and see images of a bucolic setting where bewhiskered elders in starched collars and matriarchs in hoop skirts gather beneath the shade trees. There, they sipped lemonade and heard the word of the Lord while flowers, uplifting music and zephyr breezes attested to the wonders of creation.
“Unfortunately, for anyone seeking either a cultural or a religious experience the camp meeting at Pontoosuc, IL on a hot Sunday in July 1880, fell a little short of that ideal.
“Burlington’s Daily Gazette dispatched a reporter to visit the camp meeting and early on a Sunday morning he boarded the ferryboat, John Taylor, equipped with pen, notepad and a dose of cynicism.. The writer was familiar with the sponsoring church organization and viewed with some displeasure the manifestations of their religious fervor.
“‘They shout like Dervishes, shriek hysterically, cry in anguish and writhe in agony of soul. Their eyes become glassy, their limbs rigid, ending in complete mental and physical exhaustion,’ he reported in obvious anticipation of what was to become a very long day.
“The John Taylor was loaded with a near capacity crowd of both the religious and curious from Burlington and then added to that mass of humanity with stops at Shokokon, IL (Niota) and Dallas City, IL. Because of the crowded conditions and the hot sun, the operators of the boat had spread a canvas awning above the deck to provide some relief from the summer sun. However, this proved to be an unwise idea.
“While going down, sparks from. the smoke stack fell upon the awning. It began to burn and someone shouted ‘fire, fire!’ Efforts were made to beat out the flames which were only subdued by using the pumps and drenching the entire deck and remaining awning.
“The danger over, the passengers were obliged to sit themselves in the muck and mess created by the water. Holes as large as the head of a flour barrel admitted the scorching sun. By the time the boat reached Pontoosuc. the good humor of the passengers had departed. not to return again that day.
“Worse was to come. The campgrounds were a mile from the landing, on the brow of a hill, and the road to the site was covered with dust to the depth of 3 inches. There was no need to inquire the way to the camp, for a yellow cloud of dust trailed its way up the hill. Into this cloud strode the boat passengers while the dust was stirred even further by innumerable wagons containing sightseers.
“At the campsite, the air was filled with the golden glory of dust and the exhortations of the preacher. In a circular tent sat a dense crowd of people from all parts of the county and it was a motley crowd.
“There were elders, their faces bathed in sweat, dust and the light of holiness, sisters, old and gray in the service, lank maidens, in strange attire especially adapted to the religious calisthenics indulged in and nose peeled country boys with high shirt collars sitting close to their girls who sucked the end of their cotton parasols and wished camp meetings were held every Sunday.”
“The preachers worked the crowd but there were few conversions usually associated with such gatherings. The reporter speculated that this was due to the ungodly element from Burlington ‘precluded the possibility of the appearance of Divine Grace.’
“All of these pithy observations raised a thirst in the reporter and he considered ‘wetting his whistle’ at the barrel standing by the roadside, only visible at times through the thick dust, much of which found iits way into the water, thereby increasing its color, taste and specific gravity.’
“Finally the campgrounds proved too much and the reporter found his way to a nearby village hotel where he secured refreshments. He then walked to the John Taylor and as evening came on, he voyaged back to Burlington with ‘the most disgusted crowd that ever trod the deck of a ferry boat.”
CORRUPTED MICROFILM RESCUED
The Illinois State Archives recently was able to rescue some deteriorating microfilm which was discovered by the foul smell it exuded. Considering that the State Archives houses some “25,232 rolls of public-use microfilm and 564,494 rolls of security microfilm”, it seems miraculous that a mere 1.589 deteriorating rolls were noticed, but the odor was recognized as coming from ‘vinegar syndrome’.
The newsletter of the State Archives, For the RECORD explains: “most film produced from the late 1930s through 1990 was manufactured on a cellulose acetate base. When acetate film is exposed to extremes in heat and humidity, a chemical reaction can take place, which threatens the stability of the film and the information on it. When acetate-based is stored in environmentally controlled conditions, its minimum life expectancy exceeds 100 years. Since 1990 nearly all microfilms made have polyester, rather than an acetate base, with a minimum life expectancy of 500 years under proper storage conditions.”
The foul odor discovered did, indeed, come from ‘vinegar syndrome’ and only the quick detection and work of the archive staff saved the material.
These particular microfilms were records of the Service Recognition Board (WW II), Bonus Applications from Veterans; 1947-1953. The Illinois General Assembly awarded bonus payments to Illinois veterans in 1946: $10/month for active domestic service; $15/month for active foreign service; and $900 lump sum payment, and these records have proven very popular with heirs of veterans and genealogists, so have had more ‘use’ than most; probably leading to their deterioration.
The archive staff has been busy converting the records to polyester based material; duplicating them with one copy for reference and one for security.
John Daly is confident that this is a rare occurrence for the microfilm stored at the Illinois State Archives. All microfilm is stored under ideal conditions, and most of it does not get the use that these particular records did. Besides, the staff has already proven to be highly diligent!
RARE 1876 MAP OF SPRINGFIELD RESTORED
Restoration work on the rare 1876 map of the city of Springfield was completed early this summer and the map was returned to the Sangamon Valley Collection in early August. The map, one of three unique maps donated to the SVC, shows the entire city of Springfield and its surrounding environs. It details the locations of buildings on each of the lots and in many cases provides the name of the owners. Conservators at Graphic Conservation Service in Chicago had to remove several layers of tape and reattach the map to a new backing. Ninety percent of the map was preserved. The total cost of the project was $6,000, all of which was paid for by donations, many of them from Society members.
The map will next be digitally photographed using funds from the Society’s Carroll Hall Fund. A digital file will be created from which copies of the map can be made for sale. A special, archival-quality frame will then be made for the map in which it will be encased. The map will then be displayed in the Sangamon Valley Collection.
The two remaining city maps, 1890 and 1902, are also in need of restoration work and will be sent to Graphic Conservation Service as soon as enough money is raised. Estimates for restoration of each of these maps range between three and four thousand dollars. The SVC currently has several hundreds collected towards these projects. Donations to the map restoration project should be made out to the Lincoln Library Foundation.
OCTOBER 3, SUNDAY, 8TH ANNUAL ECHOES OF YESTERYEAR –
Tip: If you haven’t come in the past, you might consider coming about 2:00 PM as there are often lines for the trolley before that time.
This year we will feature seven people buried at Oak Ridge, and
we are fortunate to have wonderful actors portraying them:
In addition the ‘Historama’ area will feature exhibits by historical associations in the community; five member authors; a ‘Here and Hereafter’ with pictures and follow up stories of those portrayed; the Museum of Funeral Customs will present: Graven Images: Tombstone iconography in Oak Ridge Cemetery, 1889-1930; the Prairie Dulcimers will perform throughout the afternoon; and there will be a wonderful concession with fresh popcorn! It all promises to be a wonderful way to spend Sunday afternoon, so plan to attend.
We are suggesting a $5.00 donation this year to defray expenses and support Society programs.
OCTOBER 9, Saturday, 7:00 AM – Bus tour to Hermann, MO
The tour features lunch and a tour of the Stone Hill Winery; a stop at an Arts and Crafts Festival; a tour of the Deutscheim State Historic Site; the German School Museum and will return to Springfield about 8:45 PM. There are still just a couple of seats available, so if you haven’t made your reservation, call 522-2500.
OCTOBER 13, Wednesday, 5:00 PM BOARD MEETING
OCTOBER 19, Tuesday, 7:00 PM PROGRAM
MAIN STREET ARCHITECTURE
A community’s downtown was historically the center of commerce, transportation, government, entertainment, and spirituality. Early Illinoisans soon shook off the ascetic pioneer lifestyle and aspired to build in manners that reflected their importance. As transportation and communication improved, people became more and more aware of current architectural styles and materials and eagerly employed them on our Main Streets. These evolving styles and their appearance in Springfield and throughout Illinois from the mid 19th century through the late 20th century is the topic of this presentation.
Anthony Rubano has been a Project Designer at the Illinois Historic
Preservation Agency since October of 1999. He has worked extensively
with the Illinois Main Street Program within IHPA, where he provided
architectural services to almost 60 historic Main Street communities
throughout the state. He currently reviews proposed changes to
historic Illinois properties under a variety of state and national
programs. A part-time faculty member at the School of the Art Institute
of Chicago, he has taught the history of American architecture
at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Anthony earned
a Master of Architecture with an emphasis on architectural history
and preservation from the University of Illinois in 1995.
OCTOBER 7, 14, and 21, 2004 at 7:30 p.m.
UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership and Professor Phillip Shaw Paludan will be hosting the Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series on Thursdays, These events are free and open to the public. No registration is required and seating is on a first come, first served basis.
October 7, Civil Liberties in Lincoln's Presidency
October 14, The Politics of Patronage in Lincoln's Era
OCTOBER 20 Historic Sites Commission
The event seeks to honor individuals, businesses, organizations, etc., who have done an outstanding job of preserving their home, business, neighborhood, etc. $15 per person.
As of the end of September we have 253 members: 80 Life members and 177 Sustaining, Family and Regular members renewed for the 2004-2005 year. For those of you who have not yet renewed, please do so now as this will be the last Historico sent to those who have not renewed their memberships (and we don’t want to lose you!)
If you have friends whom you think might be interested in joining the Historical Society, please suggest they do so. Membership brochures may be obtained at the Cemetery Walk or by calling Robinson’s at 522-2500.
Tony Leone not only graciously hosted the meeting at the Pasfield House, but provided a great deal of information about the family that had founded it.
The first George Pasfield came to Springfield in 1831 with his new bride. Though orphaned at a young age, Pasfield arrived in Springfield, already a successful entrepreneur, having run a shipping operation in Ohio prior to his marriage there. He established a general store on the North side of the square that was to become very prosperous and enable him to buy up property and finally rebuild ‘chicken row’. As an early settler he was to become involved in many aspects of building the community; from the fledgling Fire Department to the committee which sought and financed the move of the State Capitol for the city.
His son, Dr. George Pasfield, served during the Civil War at Camp Butler as a contract surgeon, though later abandoned medicine for a lucrative role in the developing real estate market. His holdings of both city land and farmland grew to be substantial. Mr. Leone estimated his income to be about two million in today’s dollars. He continued the family tradition of community involvement in both civic and business affairs. In that period of financial and industrial development, his involvements included both the 1st National and Ridgely banks, the Springfield Iron Company and the Illinois Watch Company. He built his house on a forty acre tract then considered out in the country, and now almost the center of the city.
But it was his son, George, who built the house that we know today as the ‘Pasfield House’ on a parcel of that same forty acres. George of the ‘Pasfield House’ continued the family ways of investing in the development of the community. He served on the new Park District board and was instrumental in preserving a tract of land for that new sport called golf.
In recognition of the contribution the Pasfield family has made over the years, the community has named both Pasfield Park and Pasfield Street in their memory, and now Tony Leone has preserved the name further with his renovation of the Pasfield House.
The meeting was followed by an elegant reception and tours of the house. The Society is most grateful to Mr. Leone for his generosity.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED AT EDWARDS PLACE
The Art Association plans to open Edwards Place for regularly scheduled tours again, but needs volunteers to lead them. They plan tours for Thursday evening and Friday afternoons. If you are interested in helping, please contact them at 523-2631, or stop at their booth in the Historama at the Cemetery Walk.
BRITTIN CEMETERY ‘GATHERING’
Mr. and Mrs. Allen Underwood threw a fine party at their resting
place in Brittin Cemetery on September 12th, Grandparents’ Day.
It was a beautiful afternoon and their resting place was quite
lovely, having been manicured for the occasion. A large tent was
set up with chairs to accommodate the nearly 100 guests that were
treated to music from the Jolly Cowboy Band prior to Bette Franke,
granddaughter of the hosts, explaining why the cemetery meant so
much to her. She told of spending a part of her child hood on what
was her grandparent’s farm nearby and cherishing the memories
of the many ‘gatherings’ that were a part of rural
life at the time. Most particularly she praised ‘Aunt’ Edith
Fisher who had served as a role model for her, and whose family
had donated the property of Brittin Cemetery.
For more than 20 years Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas
were opposed to each other on political issues, and vigorously
debated those issues. Yet they remained warm friends, with profound
respect for each other. The Illinois State Historical Society's
biography of Douglas cites numerous incidents of this friendship,
among them the following:
“When at the inauguration ball it had been
intimated that Mrs. Lincoln was to be snubbed by Washington society
absenting itself, Douglas, a social favorite, let it be known at
once that the Douglas’s would undertake to spoil the little
plot and to the utmost of his ability he did, by escorting Mrs.
Lincoln to the ballroom upon his arm.”
Charles A. Chapin
NOVEMBER 10, Wednesday, 5:00 PM BOARD MEETING
NOVMEMBER 16, Tuesday, 7:00 PM PROGRAM
OCTOBER 29, Friday Springfield Art Association
7- 9 PM
Portrayals of Edwards family members and personalities from the history of the Springfield Art Association.
NOVEMBER 6, Saturday 6:30 PM –
Nick Lindsay, Jr. will speak of his film study –“The Art of the Motion Picture”.
NOVEMBER 8, Monday 7:00 PM
December 2 -4, 25th Annual Illinois History Symposium
For information/reservations, call ISHS 525-2781
The weather was perfect for the 8th Annual Walk Through Oak Ridge
Cemetery, and the portrayals were better than ever! Even the lady
bugs, which so plagued last year’s walk, were not to be seen!
(Undoubtedly because Dorthy Ross had armed us with a ‘lady
bug swatter’, and they knew their days were numbered, should
Forty left at 7 a. m, as scheduled. With a stop at Glen Carbon on the way, we arrived at Hermann, where our guide greeted us. She explained that we had come to participate in the Oktoberfest weekend. We started with lunch at the restaurant of the Stone Hill Winery.
Afterwards, we had a tour of the winery. We saw the storage barrels, the vats where the wine is fermented, and how the Missouri Champagne is produced. Then, we experienced a wine tasting with samples of dry, fruity, and sweet wines, Champagne, and juices. Our guide explained the importance of wineries to the history of Hermann. Once there had been over sixty wineries. When Prohibition came, the revenuers came on the town with a vengeance; destroying wine, winemaking apparatuses, and even the vineyards. From that disaster, Hermann never recovered. Their only help has been tourism.
We met members of the local sister history group, Gasconade Historical Society. This well organized group has archives and records center and other properties and programs. They even had a booth had the Arts and Craft show to sell me books.
Then we visited the Deutschheim State Historic Site. Deutschheim means ‘home of the Germans’, the appellation given to the regions on both sides of the Missouri River from Saint Louis to Kansas City. Hermann, named for the German tribal chief who defeated the Roman army in 9 A. D and was a popular folk hero in the nineteenth century, was a community planned out of Philadelphia. The organizers provided the town with artisans and other workers, who would provide the requisite services. To ensure that the settlement ran smoothly, they hardly missed a detail. For this reason, Hermann succeeded when many similar communities failed. Our guides emphasized the importance of the Germans in Missouri history, especially their role of keeping Missouri in the Union during the Civil War.
We visited Carl Procopius Stehly’s home, one of four buildings on the site. His descendant had deeded this house with much of the original furniture to the public along with the winery building
Last we visited the German School Museum that served until 1955 as a place to preserve the German language and culture among the youth. The building has numerous items such as photographs, dolls, pottery, and displayed newspapers to depict the history of the school, along with the various eighth grade classes and individual students, Hermann, the local Germans, and the riverboats on the Missouri.
With a stop in O’Fallon, MO for supper, we arrived back
at 9:30. This 2004 voyage to Hermann, like our two other trips
there, was a success.
REPORT ON OCTOBER MEETING
Anthony Rubano began his presentation on Main Street Architecture by defining it as that developed by communities of about 5,000 people and consisting primarily of 2-3 story buildings with a store front on the ground level. He pointed out that Illinois has a treasure of such main street architecture, being 2nd only to Texas in its number of communities with a population of 5,000 people or less.
Ruban provided many examples of buildings constructed from the 1850’s on that illustrated his point of styles being converted down to the narrow width of the 25 feet that became the standard for stores: Federal, Greek Revival, Renaissance, etc. By the 1880s more advanced technology in the form of galvanized steel allowed for even greater modifications and the Italian, Romantic, Gothic and Romanesque styling could be utilized fairly inexpensively. Many of the buildings constructed of wood in the earlier period were prone to fires, and Rubano commented that it was often considered desirable to place a major stone building in the middle of a block as a firewall to these conflagrations.
By the end of the century iron could be bolted together, allowing greater repetition of design, greater weight bearing and customization; pressed metal could be used for elaborate designs of windows and details of different styles could be combined into ever more elaborate fronts until eclecticism became a style itself. This, in turn, created a return to Classicism, and the cycle started again; this time with textural variations being a major factor.
During the same period the design of the store front level changed to allow ever more show window space with recessed entries for protection from the weather and greater viewing comfort.
The 20th century saw the rise of the Prairie style and the influence of American architects such as Sullivan, Richardson and Wright.
It was a fascinating program that opened the eyes of many to the
varied ‘main street’ architecture to be found in Springfield.
Watch out for eyes looking up at the storefronts downtown rather
than where people are heading, for we will all have to wait until
next May when Rubano will begin his monthly ‘walks’ around
New Life Member: Dorthy Ross
A very special fund raising event is planned for February 25 and 26, 2005!
Kathryn Harris and Patricia James-Davis have agreed to perform HAVING OUR SAY, THE DELANY SISTERS’ FIRST 100 YEARS by Emily Mann, adapted from the book Having our Say by Sarah L. and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth, based on the lives of Sadie and Bessie Delany; at the Center for the Arts on February 25th and 26th as a benefit for the Society.
You will be hearing more about this exciting event later, but note the dates and plan to invite your friends to attend. The play was staged in New Salem in 1999, but has never been seen in Springfield.
POKORSKI PUBLICATION FUND DONATION
We are grateful to Diane Lehmann Pokorski and her family:
PIONEER PARK, A GIFT TWICE GIVEN
In a document executed on October 1, 1963, the Sangamon County Historical Society became the proud owner of a 10-acre property in Ball Township that the society later named Pioneer Park. Donated to the society through a Quitclaim Deed by widowed property owner, Josephine L. Nelch of Springfield, the society nurtured the property for over 41 years to make it a place that members can use and enjoy. The park sits directly adjacent to the historic and better-known Sugar Creek Covered Bridge owned by the state.
Society member, Wm. Hughes Diller, Jr., still remembers being in charge of getting a part of the property next to the covered bridge cleared and sown with grass for the first time when the society first took possession of it. He had someone from the nearby town of Chatham paid to mow it until just recently. In 2002, the society approved Tim E. Krell, the Pioneer Park Committee chair at the time, to take charge of building a shelter near the entrance to the park to make it more conducive for society use. The shelter was completed a short time later.
In time, however, the realization came to the society that the park has become a financial burden to it, as its simple caretaker, without any real benefit accruing from its ownership. The park is too distantly located and in a flood plain area as to make it a desirable building site for the society, and except for a couple of picnics and an egg-hunt during an Easter event, the society has never meaningfully used it since its acquisition. With this and other risks as property owner, plus the cost of mowing and picking up of the trash which has become a financial drain to the society’s limited resources, immediate past president, Douglas H. Pokorski, with board of directors concurrence, made it one of his major goals to divest the society of the ownership of the park. With his unexpected death before the end of his term, the Pioneer Park Committee took charge and continued the work that he had begun.
Finally, on September 28, 2004, the Pioneer Park Committee met to consider the possible recipient for the park. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) became the obvious choice because of its more stable state-based position, which would make it better funded, more stable and more secure. In addition, IDNR may be expected to take the role of promoting the preservation and natural conservation of the park. Moreover, Pioneer Park will continue to be maintained as a park under the wings of the Sanchris Lake arm of IDNR, unlike what the other possible recipients might do.
The society ended its 41 years of stewardship of Pioneer Park following approval by the society’s board of directors of the Pioneer Park Committee’s recommendation to transfer possession of the park to the Illinois DNR during its monthly meeting of October 13, 2004. It became a reality when the transfer was accepted by the waiting arms of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, represented by Connie Waggoner, the administrator of IDNR’s Division of Realty.
The society certainly wishes to acknowledge the help of many people and the supportive members of the Pioneer Park Committee: R. Lou Barker, James P. Coble, Job C. Conger IV, and Gary C. Vitale, with myself as chair.
And so, a gift of a Sangamon County citizen to the Sangamon County Historical Society has become a gift again, this time by the Society, not only to the people of Sangamon County, but to the people of Illinois itself and those from far beyond. –
A CENTENNIAL OF FAMILY SERVICE
Charles Calvin (Cal) Lafayette Jones, the founder of what is
now the Wilson Park funeral Home, was born in Ball Township on
November 21, 1859. He was the son of Drury and Susan Meredith Jones.
Drury Jones was one of the first settlers of Ball Township.
A REAL FIND
Last spring we were consolidating the various ‘things’ the Society has collected over the years into space rented from Robinsons. In so doing we discovered a very few copies of some of the books published as part of the Bi-centennial series in the 1970s. We have:
Summer of Rage by James Krohe, Jr. 1973
We also have available at Robinsons: Dr. Barringer’s A Walk Through Oak Ridge Cemetery and Tour of Historic Springfield; the programs books: CC Brown, Springfield’s Early African-Americans, Frank Zito, The Illinois Watch Company; and our new Vignettes . . from Walks Through Oak Ridge Cemetery; and the note cards with historic pictures on them that make wonderful gifts.
If you are interesting in obtaining any of these, please contact
Robinsons. It is easiest if you can go in and pick up your purchases,
but if you wish them mailed, the $1.00 mailing charge will be added.