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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mystery Baby and her Baby Book

While cleaning out an old box of miscellaneous papers I collected over the years I found the baby book of Dorothy Wilhelmina (no last name noted)

Dorothy arrived in this world in Springfield on August 1st, 1914 at 4:40 AM.  She was born at Fifth and N. Grand Ave, which turns out to be the address of Springfield Hospital and Training School. 

                                                                            1919 City Directory

She was baptized at German Lutheran Church.  Her two Godmothers were: Miss Katherine Biesenthal and Miss Wilhelmina Biesenthal.  I was able to locate them in a 1919 City Directory:

The Godfather was T.A. Siebert and he was a tailor.

Inside the book I found a lock of Dorothy's hair from her first hair cut and the photograph below.

If you have any interest in this baby book just let me know.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Painting Our Gable

I didn't realize there was so much detail on our gable until we started painting it!  Isn't it beautiful?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Which postcard of Washington Park came first?

I bought two postcards of Washington Park on eBay.  I was intrigued as to the differences more that the similarities. You can click on the cards to increase the size and see the details

Here is  the card made by Tuck and Sons -- an English postcard manufacturer.  It was sent by Mrs. George Hoole to someone in Philadelphia as a postcard exchange.

First the correspondence side:

Now what the English thought Washington Park looked like:

It is summer, the trees are leafed out, the men and women were happily conversing on the bench as the ducks floated by.

Now here is the other card I purchased.  There is nothing on the correspondence side so I am not showing that side.

Same scene of the Pavilion, same ducks, it is now winter and the bench has moved.

Which do you think is the original, and which is the copy cat? 

Friday, August 26, 2011

One neighbor's favorite place --- the front porch

Most of our homes in the Historic West Side Neighborhood of Springfield have porches from which to view the world.  Please read this story today in the State Journal Register to get one neighbor's perspective:

Your Front Porch: Window to the Neighborhood

Thursday, August 11, 2011

St. John's Hospital 1910

The hospital is not in the West Side Neighborhood but I found this postcard from about 1910 and was amazed at how things change and how they stay the same.  The smokestack is still there I believe. I think the area in the photograph is what is now Mason St.  The car sitting there shows that parking was a problem even then!

                     Here is the present footprint of the hospital : The area which I think was featured in the postcard is covered in a black box with Red lettering on it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Iron Spring Arbor, Washington Park

In October 2010 the Washington Park Iron Spring was reopened after months of reconstruction. The details about that are in the Springfield Journal Register story:

The new Arbor is faithful to the original -- including the lampost. I wonder if the previous one was gas?

This postcard was mailed from Springfield in 1908. Below is the new Arbor.

Click on the arrow below to hear the spring!  Enlarging it will show even more detail!

While I was there several families came to see the Spring, even on a 90 degree day! They were not from this area of town. Aren't we lucky to have the Historic Park in our back yard?

Monday, August 1, 2011

You win some, You lose some!

This old 1955  ad caught my eye:

Here is what you would get for $25,000.
"This quality home is on a beautiful large lot 120 by 160 ft in a good southwest neighborhood. Butler-Blessed Sacrament district.  Six spacious rooms on first floor. Five rooms and 1 1/2 baths on second floor. Floored attic, full high ceilinged basement with shower and stool. Oil hot water heat, 2 car garage with storage loft.  This property isin excellent condition and can easily be converted to duplex."

This is a photo of the house
when it was built in 1922.

I drive down S. Grand Ave West frequently but sure don't remember this gem.

This is what stands there now:
 We lost this one!

503 S. Grand Ave. West through the Years

In the 1920's a marvelous house was built for Dr. I. W. Metz.  Althought the house fronts on Henrietta Street the street address has always been S. Grand Ave West.

Here is what the house looked like shortly after it was built:

In 1967, it appeared like this:

And the trees were fully leaved out in this 1975 photo.

Here is how it looks today. It appears to have loving owners:

Enchanting English Arts and Crafts home in Orendorff Place

For years I have marveled at the wonderful style of a house at 1007 W. Vine. My husband and I argued about whether it was an English Cottage or English Arts and Crafts and we have now come to the conclusion it is English Arts and Crafts.
Here is that wonderful house in question:

The style could almost be called story book, with its's  many high pitched gables. It is built very close to the ground and is anchored by the pillars that  hold up the cozy porch roof.

The simple but complementary trim coming off the gables adds that wonderful arts and crafts touch.

I was unable to find any comparable house in Springfield but since the details reminded me of Voysey architecture,I looked for images of his designs:
"The houses of Voysey and his followers built in the early 1900s for wealthy clients struck a modern look with their low ceilinged rooms, horizontal windows, roofs sweeping almost down to ground level and  rough cast white or pebble dash * walls, although Voysey always saw himself as an architect working firmly within the traditions of English vernacular architecture.."
* This house a rough cast or pebble dash walls in the interior porch area..

Here is a drawing outlining the characteristics you may see in an English Arts and Crafts house (from Arts and Crafts House Styles by Trevor Yorke)

The photo below shows The White House by Dare Bryan after C. F. A. Voysey, Leigh Woods, N. Somerset, 1901
Web Citation:

The photograph below is of a house in Lake Forest Ill. It is called Ragdale

Photograph from "The Arts and Crafts House" by Adrian Tinniswood

This wonderful English Arts and Crafts house is in England and the photo was found in the  Edwardian House Style Handbook by Hilary Hockman.

So, If your interested in seeing an English Arts and Crafts house, drive by 1007 S. Vine and be enchanted too.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

View from the State Capitol?

I bought this postcard and was puzzled about where it was taken from. I believe it was taken from the Capitol Dome. The church shown is still there. A lot has changed. Any other ideas on buildings seen in the card would be very welcome!
 Any ideas on the year? (The postcard does have a divided back. which means it ws made after 1907.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Court of Honor, Springfield IL

The Court of Honor was organized in Springfield, Illinois, in 1895, with an elaborate ritual.  It prospered principally as an insurance company (in 1920 there were over 75,000 benefit members and only 2,300 social members), and then transformed itself into a regular life insurance company. In the early 1920s it changed its name to the Court of Honor Life Association, and in 1924 reincorporated simply as Springfield Life Insurance, after its headquarters city. In 1934 it merged with Abraham Lincoln Life, and in 1934 it was reinsured with Illinois Bankers Life.
Court of Honor Ritual

Here is a piece of their advertising from 1915

The 1915 City Directory states that the Court of Honor was at East Adams, on the South East corner of Second and Adams.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wonderful home of Carol and Dale Phillips

Springfield Scene Magazine has a wonderful feature article on  Carol and Dale Phillips home that is in the Historic West Side Neighborhood -- This fabulous article should not be missed....

Springfield Scene Magazine

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How others see the Grant connection to the Historic West side neighborhood

This is a follow up to the June 3, 2010 entry on:
Dubois School site has an interesting history at       Click here

I found this entry in a blog on U.S. Grant: The title for the entry is:
Ulysses S. Grant Tour- Springfield, Illinois to the Ohio river

1861: Proceeding from the Old State House eastward a number of blocks, we visited the site where Grant had his first command of soldiers–the 21st Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Originally the area was the state agricultural fairgrounds before its conversion to a Civil War military training camp. Today it is a gracious suburb with historic homes. Two memorial plaques commemorate the historic military grounds. One is a plaque on an elementary school building…

…the other object commemorating Grant’s command of the 21st Illinois Volunteer Infantry is a stone obelisk which now stands in a private garden…

The address of the blog is:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Aladdin Villa on Williams Boulevard

There is a Mediterranean style home at 957 Willaims Boulevard. It was built in 1919, shortly after this area was opened up for private homes. The architect was not local. In fact the name of the actual architect is unknown.  The house was ordered out of a catalog --

Does this house look familiar?  Here is how it looks now!

Here is how the house looked in 1967 -- there is more original detail visible:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Aren't old postcards lovely?  what a nice custom of sending them through the mail to recognize holidays!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Chilly afternoon in Oak Ridge Cemetery

Thinking it was warmer today, I suggested a walk to the park. My husband had another idea - how about a walk around Oak Ridge Cemetery. We headed to the oldest part  where the Victorian stones are.  We weren't headed for any particular plot, just looking at the different designs of the stones.
 We passed Herndon's grave (he was Lincoln's law partner)

If you stand by the side of Herndon's grave, you can see Lincoln's tomb in the distance.

Springfield had a poet named Vachel Lindsey.
 Lindsay was internationally known in the early-twentieth century for his unique poetry, the artwork he created to illustrate the poetry, and animated performances of his work. Two of his best-known volumes are The Congo (1914) and Collected Poems (1938).  He seems to have a lonely grave at Oak Ridge.

There are so many ornate stones at Oak Ridge. 


Amazingly, we ran into someone else we knew who decided to stroll through the cemetery today.  History is always with us in Springfield and there is something new to experience every day!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thursday, December 30, 2010

For 2011: I resolve to work to ensure the survival of the Historic West Side Neighborhood's Residences

Some years ago, a dear friend gave me the photograph  (because I love cats) shown below of a home at 834 College St.  The young girl in the photograph is 9 years old.  I assume the photograph was taken in the autumn because of the leaves on the ground but both mother and daughter are wearing summer dresses.

"Mama and Linda Howden" Clicking on photograph will enlarge it.

I drove by the site today and saw a huge parking lot that covered the lots of two homes. Sadly this home, built around 1896, does not exist anymore.

Happy New Year - Wishing you 365 days of good luck!

A hundred years ago, the post office was busy delivering hoilday postcards. Here are two examples: (Clicking on images will enlarge them)

This postcard has applied paste jewels and a complete calendar pad.
The owners of our west side house moved in January 1916 so this card has special meaning to me.

This card "wishes all the historic west side neighborhood residents 365 days of good luck!"