Springfield, Illinois: Wikis


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City of Springfield
The Illinois State Capitol Building in Springfield, Illinois.
Motto: Home of President Abraham Lincoln [1]
Country United States
State Illinois
County Sangamon
Elevation 597 ft (182 m)
Coordinates 39°47′00″N 89°39′01″W / 39.783250°N 89.650373°W / 39.783250; -89.650373
Area 60.3 sq mi (156 km2)
 - land 54.0 sq mi (140 km2)
 - water 6.3 sq mi (16 km2), 10.45%
Population 116,482 (2006)
 - metro 188,951
Density 2,064 /sq mi (797 /km2)
Founded April 10, 1821 [2]
 - Incorporated Town April 2, 1832 [2]
 - City Charter April 6, 1840 [2]
Mayor Timothy Davlin (D)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 62701
Located slightly southwest of the center of Illinois
Location of Springfield within Illinois.
Located a couple of states east of the center of the U.S.
Location of Illinois in the United States.
Website: http://www.springfield.il.us

Springfield is the third and current capital of the U.S. state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 116,482 (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2006). Over 200,000 residents live in the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Sangamon County and adjacent Menard County. Present day Springfield was first settled in the late 1810s, around the time Illinois became a state. The most famous past resident is Abraham Lincoln, who lived in Springfield itself from 1837 until he went to the White House 1861. Major tourist attractions include a multitude of historic sites connected with Lincoln. In 1908 a large race riot erupted in the city which culminated in the lynching of two African American residents and led to the founding of the NAACP.

The city lies on a mostly flat plain which encompasses much of the surrounding countryside. There is more hilly terrain near the Sangamon River. Lake Springfield, a large man-made lake, owned by a local public utility company called CWLP, supplies the city with recreation and drinking water. Weather is fairly typical for middle latitude locations, with hot summers and cold winters. Spring and summer weather is like that of most midwestern cities; severe thunderstorms are common. On March 12, 2006 two tornadoes touched down in the city, and caused extensive damage. They were the first to hit the city since June 14, 1957.

The city is governed by a mayor-council form of government. The city proper is also the "Capital Township" governmental entity. In addition, the government of the state of Illinois is also based in Springfield. State government entities located in the city include the Illinois General Assembly, the Illinois Supreme Court and the Office of the Governor of Illinois. There are three public and two private high schools in Springfield. Public schools in Springfield are operated by District No. 186. The economy of Springfield is marked by government jobs, which account for a large percentage of the work force in the city.



Springfield's original name was Calhoun, after Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina.[3] The land that Springfield now occupies was originally settled by trappers and traders who came to the Sangamon River in 1818.[4] The settlement's first cabin was built in 1820, by John Kelly, its site is at the northwest corner of Second Street and Jefferson Street. In 1821, Calhoun became the county seat of Sangamon County; due to the fertile soil, and trading opportunities, settlers from Kentucky, Virginia, and as far as North Carolina came to the city.[4] By 1832, Senator Calhoun had fallen out of the favor with the public and the town was renamed Springfield.[5] Kaskaskia was the first capital of the Illinois Territory from its organization in 1809, continuing through statehood in 1818, and through the first year as a state in 1819. Vandalia was the second state capital of Illinois from 1819 to 1839. Springfield became the third and current capital of Illinois in 1839. The designation was largely due to the efforts of Abraham Lincoln and his associates; nicknamed the "Long Nine" for their combined height of 54 feet (16 m).[4][5]



Lincoln and politics

Lincoln arrived in the Springfield when he was a young man in 1831, though he would not actually live in the city until 1837.[6] He spent the ensuing six years in New Salem where he began his legal studies, joined the state militia and was elected to the Illinois General Assembly. In 1837 Lincoln moved to Springfield and spent the next 24 years as a lawyer and politician; his Farewell speech when he left for Washington is a classic in American oratory.[6]

Winkle (1998) examines the historiography concerning the development of the Second Party System (Whigs versus Democrats) and applies these ideas to the study of Springfield, a strong Whig enclave in a Democratic region, mainly by studying poll books for presidential years. The rise of the Whig Party took place in 1836 in opposition to the presidential candidacy of Martin Van Buren and was consolidated in 1840. Springfield Whigs tend to validate several expectations of party characteristics as they were largely native-born, either in New England or Kentucky, professional or agricultural in occupation, and devoted to partisan organization. Abraham Lincoln's career mirrors the Whigs' political rise, but by the 1840s Springfield began to fall into Democrat hands, as immigrants changed the city's political makeup. By the 1860 presidential election, Lincoln was barely able to win his home city.[7]


Winkle (1992) examines the impact of migration on political participation in Springfield during the 1850s. Widespread migration in the 19th-century United States produced frequent population turnover within Midwestern communities, which influenced patterns of voter turnout and office-holding. Examination of the manuscript census, poll books, and office-holding records reveals the impact of migration on the behavior of 8,000 participants in 10 elections in Springfield. Most voters were short-term residents who participated in only one or two elections during the 1850s, and fewer than 1% of all voters participated in all 10 elections. Instead of producing political instability, however, rapid turnover enhanced the influence of more persistent residents. Migration was selective by age, occupation, wealth, and birthplace. Therefore, more persistent voters were wealthier, more highly skilled, more often native-born, and socially more stable than nonpersisters. Officeholders were particularly persistent and socially and economically advantaged. Persisters represented a small "core community" of economically successful, socially homogeneous, and politically active voters and officeholders who controlled local political affairs while most residents moved in and out of the city. Members of a tightly knit and exclusive "core community," exemplified by Abraham Lincoln, blunted the potentially disruptive impact of migration on local communities.[8]


The business career of John Williams illustrates the important role of the merchant banker in the economic development of central Illinois before the Civil War. Williams began his career as a clerk in frontier stores and saved to begin his own business. Later, in addition to operating retail and wholesale stores, he acted as a local banker and then organized a national bank in Springfield. He was active in railroad promotion and as an agent for farm machinery.[9]


During the mid-19th century the spiritual needs of German Lutherans in the Midwest were not being tended. As a result of the efforts of such missionaries as Friedrich Wynecken, Wilhelm Loehe, and Wilhelm Sihler, this situation was remedied by the deployment of additional Lutheran ministers, the opening of Lutheran schools, and the creation in Ft. Wayne of the Concordia Seminary in 1846. The Seminary moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 69, and its practical division moved to Springfield in 1874. Through this seminary, during the last half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod succeeded in serving the spiritual needs of Midwestern congregations by establishing additional seminaries, and by developing a viable synodical tradition.[10]

Civil War to 1900

The American Civil War made Springfield a major center of activity. Illinois regiments trained there, the first ones under Ulysses S. Grant, who marched his soldiers to a remarkable series of victories in 1861–62. The city was a political and financial center of support, and new industries, businesses, and railroads were constructed to help support the war effort.[5] The war's first official death was a Springfield resident, Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth.

Camp Butler, seven miles (11 km) northeast of Springfield, Illinois, opened in August 1861 as a training camp for Illinois soldiers, but also served as a camp for Confederate prisoners of war through 1865. In the beginning, Springfield residents visited the camp to experience the excitement of a military venture, but many reacted sympathetically to mortally wounded and ill prisoners. While the city's businesses prospered from camp traffic, drunken behavior and rowdiness on the part of the soldiers stationed there strained relations as neither civil nor military authorities proved able to control disorderly outbreaks.[11]

After the war ended in 1865, Springfield became a major hub in the Illinois railroad system and besides politics and farming, coal mining was a major industry for Springfield by 1900.[5]

20th century


Local poet Vachel Lindsay's notions of utopia were expressed in his only novel, The Golden Book of Springfield (1920), which draws on ideas of anarchistic socialism in projecting the progress of Lindsay's hometown toward utopia.[12]

The Dana-Thomas House is a Frank Lloyd Wright creation built in 1902–03. Wright began work on the house in 1902. Commissioned by local patron of the arts and public benefactor Susan Lawrence Dana, Wright's architecture harmonized with the owner's devotion to the performance of music. Coordinating art glass designs for 250 windows, doors, and panels as well as over 200 light fixtures, Wright enlisted Oak Park artisans. The house is a radical departure from Victorian architectural traditions and is the only historic site in Illinois acquired exclusively because of its architectural merit. Covering 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2), the house contained vaulted ceilings and 16 major spaces. As the nation was changing, so Wright intended this structure to reflect the changes. Creating an organic and natural atmosphere, Wright saw himself as an "architect of democracy" and intended his work to be a monument to America's social landscape. It was opened to the public in September 1990; tours are available, 9:00 am–4 pm Wednesdays through Sundays.[13][14]


Sparked by rape and assault of white women by black men in Springfield, and angered by the high degree of corruption in the city centered in black neighborhoods, the white citizenry rose up against blacks and rioting broke out in August 14–15, 1908. It was known as the Springfield Race Riot. Gangs of white youth attacked blacks in the inner city. The governor sent in 5,000 militia and the riots ended after the two blacks were lynched and four whites killed by random gunfire.[15] Springfield had a population 45,000 whites and 5,000 blacks, the latter concentrated in a downtown district. The riot involved whites attacking and burning out the black district and occurred in a period of relative economic and social stability. The city's black population was small and posed little threat to the material interests of the white community, but a major threat to "law and order" and the popular fear that corrupt criminals and politicians controlled the inner city. The rioters were largely native white American from the working-class who deliberately targeted successful blacks, who, they believed, threatened their status and identity. Black success in business and politics, attributed to corruption, violated whites' assumptions about moral standards and blacks' "proper place," and the riot was an effort to reinforce the boundaries of black subordination. Influential whites seldom rioted, but they, too, were intimately connected to the riot's origins, course, and the nature of its aftermath. Better-off whites saw the riots as a means to remove black deviants and "undesirables" from the city, while rioters intended to enforce the subordination (or expulsion) of all blacks. About 3,000 blacks left the city, many permanently. One hundred and seventeen whites were indicted, but only one was convicted. Commentators across the country underscored the symbolic importance of a riot in Lincoln's hometown. Eastern blacks decided the long-time alliance with the Republican party was inadequate protection, and formed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

21st century

Hotel damaged by the 2006 Springfield tornadoes

On March 12, 2006, Two EF2 tornadoes hit the city, injuring 24 people, damaged hundreds of buildings, and caused $150 million in damages.

On February 10, 2007, then-senator Barack Obama announced his presidential candidacy in Springfield, standing on the grounds of the Old State Capitol.[16]. Senator Obama also used the Old State Capitol in Springfield as a backdrop when he announced Joe Biden as his running mate on August 23, 2008.


Springfield is located at 39°47′00″N 89°39′01″W / 39.783250°N 89.650373°W / 39.783250; -89.650373.[17] The city is at an elevation of 586 feet (178.6 m) above sea level.[18] Within the Central section of Illinois,Springfield is 90 miles NE of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area. The Champaign/Urbana area is to the east, Peoria, Illinois is to the North, and Bloomington/Normal is to the Northeast.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 60.3 square miles (156.2 km²), of which, 54.0 square miles (139.9 km²) of it is land and 6.3 square miles (16.3 km²) of it (10.46%) is water. The city is located in the Lower Illinois River Basin, in a large area known as Till Plain. Sangamon County, and the city of Springfield, are in the Springfield Plain subsection of Till Plain. The Plain is underlian by glacila till that was deposited by a large continental ice sheets that repeatedly covered the area during the Illinoian Stage.[19][20]

The majority of the Lower Illinois River Basin is very flat, with relief extending no more than 20 feet (6.1 m) in most areas, including the Springfield subsection of the plain. The differences in topography are based on the age of drift. The Springfield and Galesburg Plain subsections represent the oldest drift, Illinoian, while Wisconsinian drift resulted in end moraines on the Bloomington Ridged Plain subsection of Till Plain.[21]

Lake Springfield is a 4,200-acre (1,700 ha) man-made reservoir owned by City Water, Light & Power,[22] the largest municipally owned utility in Illinois.[23] It was built and filled in 1935.[24] The lake is used primarily as a source for drinking water for the city of Springfield, but it also provides cooling water for the condensers at the power plant on the lake. It attracts approximately 600,000 visitors annually and its 57 miles (92 km) of shoreline is home to over 700 lakeside residences and eight public parks.[22]

Water levels in the lake are measured from mean sea level. The term "full pool" describes the lake at 560 feet (170.7 m) above sea level and indicates the level at which the lake begins to flow over the dam's spillway, if no gates are opened.[24] Normal lake levels are generally somewhere below full pool, depending upon the season. During the drought from 1953–1955 lake levels dropped to their historical low, 547.44 feet (166.9 m) above mean sea level.[24] The highest recorded lake levels were in December 1982, when the lake crested at 564 feet (171.9 m).[24]


Climate data for Springfield, IL
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average high °F (°C) 33.1
Average low °F (°C) 17.1
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.62
Source: USTravelWeather.com [8] {{{accessdate}}}

Springfield has a humid continental climate (Koppen Dfa) and experiences typical middle latitude weather. Hot summers and cold winters are the norm. Illinois also experiences large numbers of tornadoes. From 1961 to 1990 the city of Springfield averaged 35.25 inches (89.3 cm) of precipitation per year.[25] During that same period the average yearly temperature was 52.4 degrees Fahrenheit (11.3 °C), with a summer maximum of 76.5 degrees Fahrenheit (24.7 °C) in July and a winter minimum of 24.2 degrees Fahrenheit (−4.3 °C) in January.[26]

From 1971–2000, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data showed that Springfield's average annual temperature increased to 62.4 degrees Fahrenheit (16.9 °C).[27] During that period July temperatures, still the hottest month in Springfield on average, maxed out at 86.5 degrees Fahrenheit (30.3 °C) while January temperature increased slightly to an average of 33.1 degrees Fahrenheit (about 1 °C).[27]

In 1957 a tornado hit Springfield, killing two people.[28] On March 12, 2006, the city was struck by two F2 tornadoes.[28] The storm system which brought the two tornadoes hit the city around 8:30pm; no one died as a result of the weather.[28] Springfield received a federal grant in February 2005 to help improve its tornado warning systems and new sirens were put in place in November 2006 after eight of the sirens failed during an April 2006 test, shortly after the tornado hit.[29][30][31] The cost of the new sirens totaled $983,000.[29] Although tornadoes are not uncommon in central Illinois, the March 12 tornadoes were the first to hit the actual city since the 1957 storm.[28] The 2006 tornados followed nearly identical paths to that of the 1957 tornado.[28]


An image of Downtown Springfield with a view of the State capitol.

Springfield proper is greatly based on a grid street system, with numbered streets starting with the longitudinal First Street which leads to the Illinois State Capitol and leading to 32nd Street in the far eastern part of the city. Previously the city had four distinct boundary streets: North, South, East, and West Grand Avenues. Since expansion, West Grand Avenue became MacArthur Boulevard and East Grand became 19th Street on the north side and 18th Street on the south side. 18th Street has since been renamed after Martin Luther King Jr. North and South Grand Avenues (which run east–west) have remained important corridors in the city. At South Grand and Eleventh Street, the old "South Town District" lies, with the City of Springfield undertaking a huge redevelopment project there.

Latitudinal streets range from names of presidents in the downtown area to names of notable people in Springfield and Illinois to names of institutions of higher education, especially in the Harvard Park neighborhood.

Springfield has at least twenty separately designated neighborhoods, though not all are incorporated with associations. They include: Benedictine District, Bunn Park, the Cabbage Patch, Eastside, Enos Park, Glen Aire, Harvard Park, Hawthorne Place, Historic West Side, Laketown, Lincoln Park, Near South, Northgate, Oak Ridge, Old Aristocracy Hill, Shalom, Springfield Lakeshore, Twin Lakes, UIS Campus, Vinegar Hill, and Westchester neighborhoods.[32]

The Lincoln Park Neighborhood is an area bordered by 3rd Street on its west, Black Avenue on the north, 8th street on the east and North Grand Avenue. The neighborhood is not far from Lincoln's Tomb on Monument Avenue.[33]

Springfield also encompasses four different suburban villages that have their own municipal governments. They include Jerome, Leland Grove, Southern View and Grandview.


Abraham Lincoln was one of Springfield's most well-known residents

Springfield has been home to a wide array of individuals, who, in one way or another, contributed to the broader American culture. Wandering poet Vachel Lindsay, most famous for his poem "The Congo" and a booklet called "Rhymes to be Traded for Bread", was born in Springfield in 1879.[34] At least two notable people affiliated with American business and industry have called the Illinois state capital home at one time or another. Both John L. Lewis, a labor activist, and Marjorie Merriweather Post, the founder of the General Foods Corporation, lived in the city; Post in particular was a native of Springfield.[35][36] In addition, astronomer Seth Barnes Nicholson was born in Springfield in 1891.[37] The industrialists and financiers Jacob Bunn and John Whitfield Bunn resided in Springfield and in Chicago, and contributed greatly to the economic development of both Springfield and Sangamon County, as well as to the economic growth of Chicago.

Literary tradition

Springfield and the Sangamon Valley enjoy a lush literary tradition in Abraham Lincoln, Vachel Lindsay, Edgar Lee Masters, John Hay, William H. Herndon, Benjamin P. Thomas, Paul Angle, Virginia Eiffert, Robert Fitzgerald and William Maxwell, among others. Heritage and legacy endure today in Illinois’ state capital, where four institutions of higher learning; a state-of-the-art, world-class library and museum; and a solid society of artistic interests each coalesce to produce a region steeped in the pursuit of the very arts and letters that produce wellsprings for a life rich in meaning, learning, and public service.

Performing arts

The Hoogland Center for the Arts in downtown Springfield is a centerpiece for performing arts, and houses among other organizations the Springfield Theatre Centre, the Springfield Ballet Company, The Illinois Symphony Orchestra and the Springfield Municipal Opera, also known as The Muni, which stages community theatre productions of Broadway musicals outdoors each summer. A few films have been created or had elements of them created in Springfield. Legally Blonde 2 was filmed in Springfield in 2003. Musicians Artie Matthews and Morris Day both once called Springfield home.[38][39] Other performing arts such as music and ballet are also common in Springfield.[40][41]


The Springfield Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop, showing drive-thru window

Springfield has long had an affiliation with food. The corn dog on a stick is claimed to have been invented in the city under the name “Cozy Dog,” although there is some debate to the actual origin of the popular snack.[42][43] The horseshoe sandwich, not well-known outside of central Illinois, also originated in Springfield.[44] Springfield was also once home to the Reisch Beer brewery.[45]

The alleged first U.S. drive-thru window is still in operation in Springfield at the Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop.[46] The city is also known for its chili, or “chilli”, as it is known in many chili shops throughout Sangamon County.[47] The unique spelling is said to have begun with the founder of the Dew Chilli Parlor in 1909, due to a spelling error in the chili parlor’s sign.[48] Another interpretation is that the misspelling represented the “Ill” in the word Illinois.[48] In 1993 the Illinois state legislature adopted a resolution proclaiming Springfield the “Chilli Capital of the Civilized World.”[47]

The city of Springfield is dotted with sites centered around U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, who started his political career in Springfield.[49] These include: the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, a National Historical Park that includes the preserved surrounding neighborhood, the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site, the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site, the Old State Capitol State Historic Site, the Lincoln Depot from which Abraham Lincoln departed Springfield to be inaugurated in Washington D.C., the Elijah Iles House, Edwards Place and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Near the village of Petersburg, is New Salem State Park, a restored hamlet of log cabins, recreating the town where Lincoln lived as a young man. With the opening of the Presidential Library and Museum in 2004, the city has seen a number of prominent visitors, including President George W. Bush and the Emir of Qatar.[50][51]

The Donner Party, a group of pioneers who resorted to cannibalism while snowbound in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, began their journey in Springfield.[52] Springfield's Dana-Thomas House is among the best preserved and most complete of Frank Lloyd Wright's early "Prairie" houses.[53] It was built in 1902–1904 and has many of the furnishings Wright designed for it.[53] Springfield's Washington Park is home to Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon and the site of an annual carillon festival, held since 1962.[54] In August, the city is the site of the Illinois State Fair.

Although not born in Springfield, Abraham Lincoln is the city's most famous resident. He lived there for 24 years.[6] The only home he ever owned is open to the public, seven days a week, free of charge, and operated by the National Park Service.[6]


Historically, Springfield has been home to a number of minor league baseball franchises, the last club leaving the city after 2001. The city was the home of the Springfield Stallions, an indoor football team who played at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in 2007. Today, the city is host to the Springfield Junior Blues, a North American Hockey League team that plays at the Nelson Recreation Center.

The city has produced several notable professional sports talents. Current and former Major League Baseball players, Kevin Seitzer, Jeff Fassero, Ryan O'Malley, Jason and Justin Knoedler, and Hall of Famer Robin Roberts were all born in Springfield.[55][56][57][58] Former MLB player Dick "Ducky" Schofield is currently an elected official in Springfield, and his son Dick Schofield also played in the Major Leagues, as does Ducky's grandson, Jayson Werth. Ducky, Dick, and Jayson were all born in Springfield. Ducky's daughter (and Jayson's mother) Kim Schofield Werth, also from Springfield, is a track star who competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials. National Basketball Association players Dave Robisch, Kevin Gamble, and Andre Iguodala are also all from the city.[59][60] Former NFL wide receiver, Otto Stowe, was a 1967 graduate of the now defunct Feitshans High School. A UFC fighter, Matt Mitrione, attended and played football for Sacred Heart Griffin. He also played in the NFL as an undrafted free agent for several teams.


The State Journal-Register is the primary daily newspaper for Springfield, and its surrounding area. The newspaper was originally founded in 1831 as the Sangamon Journal, and claims to be "the oldest newspaper in Illinois." The local alternative weekly is the Illinois Times. There are four TV channels which include WCFN MYTV 49, WICS ABC 20, WRSP FOX 55, and WSEC PBS 14. There are several radio stations based in Springfield, including WUIS 91.9 FM, WXAJ 99.7 FM, WCVS 96.7 FM WMAY 970 AM, WNNS 98.7 FM, WQLZ 92.7 FM, WTAX 1240 AM/107.5 FM, WDBR 103.7 FM, WABZ 93.9 FM, WYMG 100.5 FM, WQQL 101.9 FM, WLCE 97.7 FM, WFMB 1450 AM, and WFMB-FM 104.5 FM.[61][62][63] One television station that has since ceased to exist was WJJY-TV, which operated in the Springfield area for three years (1969–1971).[64]

Springfield is also served by an NBC affiliate in Decatur (WAND-TV) and a CBS affiliate in Champaign (WCIA).


Many of the jobs in the city center around state government, headquartered in Springfield. As of 2002, the State of Illinois is both the city and county's largest employer, employing 17,000 people across Sangamon County.[65] As of February 2007, government jobs, including local, state and county, account for about 30,000 of the city's non-agricultural jobs.[66] Trade, transportation and utilities, and the health care industries each provide between 17,000 and 18,000 jobs to the city.[66] The largest private sector employer in 2002 was Memorial Health Systems. 3,400 people worked for that company.[65] According to estimates from the "Living Wage Calculator", maintained by Pennsylvania State University, the living wage for the city of Springfield is $6.50 per hour for one adult,[67] approximately $13,000 working 2,000 hours per year. For a family of four costs are increased and the living wage is $19.49 per hour within the city.[67] According to the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the Civilian Labor force dropped from 116,500 in September 2006 to 113,400 in February 2007. In addition, the unemployment rate rose during the same time period from 3.8% to 5.1%.[66]


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1840 2,579
1850 4,533 75.8%
1860 9,320 105.6%
1870 17,364 86.3%
1880 19,743 13.7%
1890 24,963 26.4%
1900 34,159 36.8%
1910 51,678 51.3%
1920 59,183 14.5%
1930 71,864 21.4%
1940 75,503 5.1%
1950 81,628 8.1%
1960 83,271 2.0%
1970 91,753 10.2%
1980 99,637 8.6%
1990 105,227 5.6%
2000 111,454 5.9%
Decennial US Census

As of the census[68] of 2000, there were 111,454 people, 48,621 households, and 27,957 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,063.9 people per square mile (796.9/km²). There were 53,733 housing units at an average density of 995.0/sq mi (384.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.01% White, 15.34% African American, 0.21% Native American, 1.45% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.47% from other races, and 1.49% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.20% of the population.

There were 48,621 households out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.5% were non-families. 36.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.0% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,388, and the median income for a family was $51,298. Families with children had a higher income of about $69,437. Males had a median income of $36,864 versus $28,867 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,324. About 8.4% of families and 11.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.3% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.

Law and government

Springfield city government is structured under the mayor-council form of government. It is the strong mayor variation of that type of municipal government, the mayor holds executive authority, including veto power, in Springfield.[69] The executive branch also consists of 17 non-elected city "offices." Ranging from the police department to the Office of Public Works, each office can be altered through city ordinance.[69]

Elected officials in the city, mayor, aldermen, clerk, and treasurer, serve four year terms.[70] The elections are not staggered.[70] The council members are elected from ten districts throughout the city while the mayor, city clerk and city treasurer are elected on an at-large basis.[70] The council, as a body, consists of the ten aldermen and the mayor, though the mayor is generally a non-voting member who only participates in the discussion.[71] There are a few instances where the mayor does vote on ordinances or resolutions: if there is a tie vote, if more than half of the aldermen support the motion, whether there is a tie or not, and where a vote greater than the majority is required by the municipal code.[71]

As the state capital Springfield is home to the three branches of Illinois government. Much like the United States federal government, Illinois government has an executive branch, occupied by the state governor, a legislative branch, which consists of the state senate and house, and a judicial branch, which is topped by the Illinois Supreme Court.[72] The Illinois legislative branch is collectively known as the Illinois General Assembly.[73]


Outline of the Township area and the City of Springfield in Sangamon County

The Capital Township formed from Springfield Township on July 1, 1877, and was established and named by the Sangamon County Board on March 6, 1878, and the limits of the township and City of Springfield were made co-extensive on February 17, 1892 to better serve the people. There are three functions of this township: assessing property, collection first property tax payment, and assisting residents that live in the township. One thing that makes the Capital township unique is that the township never has to raise taxes for road work, since the roads are maintained by the Springfield Department of Public Works.[74][75]


Springfield is home to at least eight public and private high schools.

The Springfield public school district is District No. 186. District 186 operates 24 elementary schools and an early learning center, (pre-K). District 186 operates three high schools, Lanphier High School, Springfield High School and Springfield Southeast High School, and five middle schools.[76]

Springfield is home to two junior collegesSpringfield College (Illinois)|Springfield College/since 2003, Benedictine University ], and Lincoln Land Community College. Springfield also hosts two Universities. One is the University of Illinois Springfield, which is located on the southeast side of the city. The other is Robert Morris University (Illinois), located on Montvale, just off Wabash. The city is home to the Springfield campus of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine,[77] which is in the early stages of building a Cancer Institute in Springfield's Medical District.[78]

Springfield's Sacred Heart-Griffin High School is a city Catholic high school.[79] Other area high schools include Calvary Academy and Lutheran High School.[80]


Health systems

There are two Springfield hospitals, Springfield Memorial Medical Center and St. John's Hospital. A third hospital, named Doctor's Hospital operated on Springfield's south side until 1999.

St. John's Hospital is home to the Prairie Heart Institute, which performs more cardiovascular procedures than any other hospital in Illinois. The dominant health care provider in the area is Springfield Clinic. The major medical education concern in the area is the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine – located in Springfield.[81]


The Springfield Park District operates more than 30 parks throughout the city. The two best-known are Carpenter Park, an Illinois Nature Preserve on the banks of the Sangamon River, and Washington Park and Botanical Garden on the city's southwest side and adjacent to some of Springfield's most beautiful and architecturally interesting homes. As well as Lincoln Park, located next to Oak Ridge Cemetery where President Lincoln's tomb is located. Centennial Park, which rests on the outskirts of Springfield's southwest limits, holds the city's only public skateboard rink, as well as several ball fields, tennis courts, and a manmade hill for cardio exercises and sledding in winter months.

Public utilities

The owner of Lake Springfield, City Water, Light & Power, supplies electric power generated from the Dallman Power Plants for the city of Springfield and eight surrounding communities, the company also provides the cities and towns with water from the lake. In 2005, ground was broken for a third municipally owned power plant. This Power Plant has been completed. Natural gas is provided via AmerenCILCO, formerly Central Illinois Light Company (CILCO).[82]


Interstate 55 runs from north to south past Springfield, while I-72, also known as US 36, runs from east to west. Springfield is also served by Amtrak passenger trains, which operate between Chicago and St. Louis and stop at the former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio station.[83] Local mass transportation needs are met by a bus service. The Springfield Mass Transit District (SMTD) operates Springfield's bus system.[84] The city also lies along historic Route 66.

Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport serves the capital city with air service to Chicago/O'Hare and Punta Gorda/Fort Myers.[85]

Springfield and the surrounding metropolitan area has constructed bike trails and bike lanes on a number of streets. Currently three main trails exist; two significant paved trails, the Interurban Trail and the Lost Bridge Trail, serve Springfield and its suburbs of Chatham, Illinois and Rochester, Illinois. The other trail is the Wabash Trail, spanning from the northern end of the Interurban Trail and traveling westward toward Parkway Pointe, a regional shopping destination.

Several additional trails are proposed, including the Sangamon Valley Trail spanning north to south through the west central part of Sangamon County.

Notable natives and residents

Sister cities

Springfield, Illinois, USA has four sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, they include the following places:

Primary sources

  • Chicago Commission on Race Relations. Negro in Chicago (1919), section on Springfield Riot, pp 66–71 complete edition online
  • History of Sangamon County, Illinois (1881)

See also


  1. ^ Official City Website, retrieved on February 20, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c Springfield Online Retrieved on April 13, 2007
  3. ^ Springfield history Retrieved on February 21, 2007
  4. ^ a b c Springfield, Illinois Retrieved on February 69, 2069
  5. ^ a b c d A Brief Sketch of Springfield, Illinois Retrieved on February 69, 2007
  6. ^ a b c d "Springfield, Illinois", American History 32 (4): 60, September/October 1997, ISSN: 1076-8866, http://www.ulib.niu.edu:4513/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=9710070017&site=ehost-live , Academic Search Premier, (EBSCO). Retrieved February 69, 2069.
  7. ^ Winkle, (1998)
  8. ^ Kenneth J. Winkle, "The Voters of Lincoln's Springfield: Migration and Political Participation in an Antebellum City." Journal of Social History 1992 25(3): 595–611. Issn: 0022-4529 Fulltext: Ebsco
  9. ^ Robert E., Coleberd, Jr. "John Williams: a Merchant Banker in Springfield, Illinois." Agricultural History 1968 42(3): 259–265. Issn: 0002-1482
  10. ^ Roger Howard Dallmann, "Springfield Seminary." Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly 1977 50(3): 106–130. Issn: 0010-5260
  11. ^ Camilla A. Quinn, "Soldiers on Our Streets: the Effects of a Civil War Military Camp on the Springfield Community." Illinois Historical Journal 1993 86(4): 245–256. Issn: 0748-8149
  12. ^ Ron Sakolsky, "Utopia at Your Doorstep: Vachel Lindsay's Golden Book of Springfield." Utopian Studies 2001 12(2): 53–64. Issn: 1045-991x Fulltext: Ebsco
  13. ^ http://www.dana-thomas.org/
  14. ^ Alexander O. Boulton, "ride of the Prairie." American Heritage 1991 42(4): 62–69. Issn: 0002-8738 Fulltext: Ebsco; Donald P. Hallmark, "Frank Lloyd Wright's Dana-thomas House: its History, Acquisition, and Preservation." Illinois Historical Journal 1989 82(2): 113–126. Issn: 0748-8149
  15. ^ Chicago Commission on Race Relations (1919); Crouthamel (1960); Senechal (1990)
  16. ^ Obama: I'm running for president
  17. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  18. ^ Annual Climatology: Springfield Illinois (SPI), National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  19. ^ Willman, H.B., and J.C. Frye, 1970, Pleistocene Stratigraphy of Illinois. Bulletin no. 94, Illinois State Geological Survey, Champaign, Illinois.
  20. ^ McKay, E.D., 2007, Six Rivers, Five Glaciers, and an Outburst Flood: the Considerable Legacy of the Illinois River. Proceedings of the 2007 Governor's Conference on the Management of the Illinois River System: Our continuing Commitment, 11th Biennial Conference, Oct. 2-4, 2007, 11 p.
  21. ^ Warner, Kelly L. "Lower Illinois River Basin – Physiography", Water-Quality Assessment of the Lower Illinois River Basin: Environmental Setting, USGS Water Resources of Illinois [1], United States Geological Survey, pg. 3. Retrieved April 6, 2007.
  22. ^ a b Lake Springfield, City Water, Light & Power, City of Springfield. Retrieved February 20, 2007.
  23. ^ About CWLP, City Water, Light & Power, City of Springfield. Retrieved February 20, 2007.
  24. ^ a b c d Lake Water Levels, City Water, Light & Power, City of Springfield. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  25. ^ Normal Monthly Precipitation, Inches, Department of Meteorology, University of Utah. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  26. ^ Normal Daily Temperature, °F, Department of Meteorology, University of Utah. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  27. ^ a b Normal Daily Maximum Temperatures, °F, 1971–2000, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  28. ^ a b c d e Springfield Tornados, Central Illinois Region, National Weather Service. Retrieved February 21, 2007.
  29. ^ a b New City Tornado Sirens are Fully Operational, Press Release, City of Springfield. Retrieved February 21, 2007.
  30. ^ Springfield and Quincy Fire Department Awarded $146,646 in Homeland Security Grants, Press Release, Office of Congressman Ray Lahood, February 23, 2005. Retrieved March 7, 2007.
  31. ^ Minutes of the Springfield City Council – April 4, 2006, (PDF), City of Springfield, City Clerk. Retrieved March 7, 2007.
  32. ^ Neighborhood Associations, Office of Planning & Economic Development, City of Springfield. Retrieved March 11, 2007.
  33. ^ "Boundaries", Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association. Retrieved May 20, 2007.
  34. ^ Wood, Thomas J. and Kirsch, Sarah. "Rhymes to Be Traded for Bread", Web Exhibit, University of Illinois-Springfield. Retrieved February 21, 2007.
  35. ^ John L. Lewis House, Historic Sites Commission of Springfield, Illinois. Retrieved February 21, 2007
  36. ^ Hales, Linda. Getting One's Fill at Hillwood, Editorial Review, Washington Post, September 24, 2000. Retrieved February 21, 2007.
  37. ^ Murdin Paul, ed. Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Abstract, Smithsonian/NASA ADS, Astronomy Abstract Service [2]. Retrieved February 21, 2007.
  38. ^ Artie Matthews, Biography, AllMusic.com. Retrieved February 21, 2007.
  39. ^ Morris Day and The Time, Richard De La Fonte Agency, Inc. Retrieved February 21, 2007.
  40. ^ [3] Springfield Music Retrieved on March 21, 2007.
  41. ^ [4] Springfield Ballet Retrieved on March 21, 2007.
  42. ^ Oral History Collections. Interview with Edwin Waldmire, Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) [5], Brookens Library, University of Illinois-Springfield. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  43. ^ Storch, Charles. Birthplace (maybe) of the corn dog, Chicago Tribune, August 16, 2006, Newspaper Source, (EBSCO). Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  44. ^ Harris, Patricia and Lyon, David. hottest thing in sandwiches, Boston Globe, November 20, 2006. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  45. ^ 117-Year-Old Brewing Co. Closes, (PDF) Chicago Tribune, (1963–Current file); August 8, 1966; pg. C6. ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1985). Retrieved March 10, 2007
  46. ^ Pearson, Rick. A Guide for the National Press, Chicago Tribune, February 9, 2007. Retrieved February 23, 2007.
  47. ^ a b Zimmerman-Wills, Penny. Capital City Chilli, Illinois Times, January 30, 2003. Retrieved February 23, 2007.
  48. ^ a b About the City, Springfield, Illinois Convention and Visitors Bureau. Retrieved February 23, 2007.
  49. ^ Thomas, Benjamin P. Abraham Lincoln: A Biography, Alfred Knopf:New York, (1952). Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  50. ^ The visit of The Emir of Qatar to the United States (May 2005), Press Release, Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington D.C.. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  51. ^ Museum Dedication – A Look Back, (note:automatically plays band music), Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  52. ^ Reardon Patrick T. Donner Party began here too, Chicago Tribune, February 7, 2007. Retrieved February 21, 2007.
  53. ^ a b Dana-Thomas House, State Historic Sites, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Retrieved March 7, 2007.
  54. ^ The 46th Annual Carillon Festival, Press Release, Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  55. ^ Jeff Fassero, Player Pages, Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 21, 2007.
  56. ^ Kevin Seitzer, Player Pages, Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 21, 2007.
  57. ^ Ryan O'Malley, Player Pages, Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 21, 2007.
  58. ^ Robin Roberts, Player Pages, Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 21, 2007.
  59. ^ Freedman, Lew. Gamble Paying Off, Chicago Tribune, February 10, 2007.
  60. ^ Andre Iguodala to Donate $19,000 to Assist Tornado Relief Efforts in Springfield, Ill., Press Release, Philadelphia 76ers, April 4, 2006. Retrieved February 21, 2007
  61. ^ Illinois Radio Stations. Retrieved on August 23, 2007.
  62. ^ Springfield Illinois news media. Retrieved on March 8, 2007.
  63. ^ Illinois Local Media Retrieved on March 8, 2007
  64. ^ The Rise & Fall of WJJY-TV. Retrieved on March 8, 2007.
  65. ^ a b Major Springfield Employers, Office of Planning and Economic Development, City of Springfield. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  66. ^ a b c Springfield, IL – Economy at a glance, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved April 6, 2007.
  67. ^ a b Springfield city, Sangamon County, IL, Living Wage Calculator [6], Department of Geography [7], Penn State University. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  68. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  69. ^ a b Code of Ordinances, City of Springfield, Title III: Chapter 32: Article I – Executive Branch. Municode.com. Retrieved February 25, 2007.
  70. ^ a b c Code of Ordinances, City of Springfield, Title I: Chapter 30: General Provisions. Municode.com. Retrieved February 25, 2007.
  71. ^ a b Code of Ordinances, City of Springfield, Title III: Chapter 31: Legislative. Municode.com. Retrieved February 25, 2007.
  72. ^ Article IV – Section 4, Jurisdiction, The Judiciary, Constitution of the State of Illinois, Illinois General Assembly. Retrieved March 7, 2007.
  73. ^ Article IV – Section 1, Legislature – Power and Structure, The Legislature, Constitution of the State of Illinois, Illinois General Assembly. Retrieved March 7, 2007.
  74. ^ Capital Township, Official site. Retrieved March 8, 2007.
  75. ^ Sangamon County Fact Sheet, Illinois State Archives. Retrieved March 10, 2007.
  76. ^ Schools, Springfield Public School District 186. Retrieved February 24, 2007
  77. ^ Office of Student Affairs, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  78. ^ New SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute Building, SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  79. ^ Sacred Heart=Griffin High School, Sacred Heart-Griffin High School. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  80. ^ Lutheran High, Main page. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  81. ^ Overview, Prairie Heart Institute, St. John's Hospital. Retrieved February 23, 2007.
  82. ^ Springfield profile, Office of Planning & Economic Development, City of Springfield. Retrieved April 6, 2007.
  83. ^ Amtrak, Amtrak Station. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  84. ^ Springfield Mass Transit System, Springfield Mass Transit System. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  85. ^ Flights. Retrieved November 29, 2009.

Further reading

  • Angle, Paul M. "Here I have lived": A history of Lincoln's Springfield, 1821–1865 (1935, 1971)
  • Crouthamel, James L. "The Springfield Race Riot of 1908." Journal of Negro History 1960 45(3): 164–181. Issn: 0022-2992 in Jstor
  • Harrison, Shelby Millard, ed. The Springfield Survey: Study of Social Conditions in an American City (1920), famous sociological study of the city vol 3 online
  • Laine, Christian K. Landmark Springfield: Architecture and Urbanism in the Capital City of Illinois. Chicago: Metropolitan, 1985. 111 pp.
  • Lindsay, Vachel. The Golden Book of Springfield (1920), a novel excerpt and text searc
  • Senechal, Roberta. The Sociogenesis of a Race Riot: Springfield, Illinois, in 1908. 1990. 231 pp.
  • VanMeter, Andy. "Always My Friend: A History of the State Journal-Register and Springfield." Springfield, Ill.: Copley, 1981. 360 pp. history of the daily newspapers
  • Wallace, Christopher Elliott. "The Opportunity to Grow: Springfield, Illinois during the 1850s." PhD dissertation Purdue U. 1983. 247 pp. DAI 1984 44(9): 2864-A. DA8400427 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
  • Winkle, Kenneth J. "The Second Party System in Lincoln's Springfield." Civil War History 1998 44(4): 267–284. Issn: 0009-8078

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SPRINGFIELD, the capital of Illinois, U.S.A., and the countyseat of Sangamon county, on the Sangamon river, in the central part of the state. Pop. (1890), 24,963; (1900), 34,159, of whom 4654 were foreign-born (1 9 40 Germans, 11(36 Irish and 499 English) and 2227 negroes; (19 1 0 census) 51,678. Land area (1906), 7.07 sq. m., of which 3.37 sq. m. had been annexed since 1890. It is served by the Baltimore & Ohio South-Western, the Chicago & Alton, the Chicago, Peoria & St Louis, the Illinois Central, the Wabash, and the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton railways, and by inter-urban electric lines. The city has a park and a boulevard system; the principal parks are Washington, Lincoln, Reservoir and Mildred. The chief public building is the state capitol (built in1868-1888at a cost of about $4,50o,000), in the form of a Greek cross, with porticoes of granite and a dome 361 ft. high. It is the fifth state capitol of Illinois and the second erected in Springfield. Other prominent buildings are the Supreme Court building, the county court house (the old state capitol, finished in 18J3), the city-hall, the state arsenal, the high school and the public library. In Oak Ridge cemetery, adjacent to the city, is the Lincoln monument, erected over Abraham Lincoln's grave with funds raised throughout the country by a Lincoln Monument Association. It was designed by Larkin G. Mead, and consists of a granite obelisk 121 ft. above the centre of a mausoleum, which is 1191ft. long and 72 } ft. wide, and in which there are six crypts for the burial of members of Lincoln's family, and a memorial hall, a museum of Lincolniana. Around the foot of the obelisk (besides an heroic statue of Lincoln) are four groups of figures in bronze, symbolizing the army and navy of the United States. The monument was completed and dedicated in 1874, was transferred to the state in 1895, and restored and in large part rebuilt in 1899-1901. Lincoln's home (erected in 1839 and bought by Lincoln in 1844) in Springfield is well preserved by the state. In the city are the state library (1842), the state law library (1839), the Illinois historical library (1889), of which the State Historical Society (1903) is a department, and the Illinois Supreme Court library; several educational institutions, including Concordia-Seminar (Evangelical Lutheran), the Ursuline Academy (Roman Catholic), and the Academy of the Sacred Heart (Roman Catholic); the Springfield hospital (1897; Lutheran), and the St John's hospital (1875; under the Sisters of St Francis), two orphanages, two homes for aged women, and a sanatorium; the permanent grounds of the State Fair (157 acres), and a state rifle range and militia camp-ground (160 acres). Springfield is a trading and shipping centre for a prosperous agricultural region, and ships large quantities of bituminous coal from the immediate vicinity. The Wabash and the Chicago, Peoria & St Louis railways have large repair shops here. Among the manufactures are agricultural implements, watches and watch material - the Illinois Watch Company has a large factory here - lumber, flour, foundry and machine-shop products, automobiles, shoes and boilers. The total value of the factory product in 1905 was $5,976,637 (67.2% more than in 1900). The first settlement was made in 1818. In 1821 the place was chosen to be the county-seat of the newly created Sangamon county and was named Springfield. In 1823 it was platted, and was named Calhoun in honour of John C. Calhoun, but this name was not popular and the former name was soon restored. Springfield was incorporated as a town in 1832 and chartered as a city in 1840. In 1837 the state legislature passed a bill making Springfield the capital, and in December 1839 the legislature first met here.

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Simple English

[[File:|thumb|right]] [[File:|right|thumb|200px|The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, built 1868–1888.]] Springfield is the capital city of the U.S. state of Illinois. It is close to the center of the state. In the 2000 census, Springfield had more than 110,000 people living in it.

The state Capitol, in the middle of Springfield, is where the General Assembly (the state's legislature) meets and where the governor's office is. The Capitol is a big building with a dome that can be seen from many miles away. Springfield also has an old capitol, which is now a historic site.

Springfield was the home of Abraham Lincoln before he was elected president in 1860. Lincoln was a lawyer and practiced law many places in Illinois. His office is near the old capitol. When he died, his body was brought back to Springfield. His home, his law office, his tomb are all open to the public. Springfield also has a new building with a museum and library dedicated to him and his presidency.

Springfield has two Interstate highways: I-55 and I-72. I-55 runs from Chicago to Springfield and then through St. Louis, Missouri. Springfield also has many smaller roads to other cities.


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