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Springfield Illinois – My Birthplace

I have a friend in Madang, Papua New Guinea who is a fan of “The Simpsons”. He is always teasing me by telling everyone that I am from Springfield, you know, the home of the “Simpsons”. Yes, I was born and raised in Springfield Illinois, but I am not sure that is the home of the “Simpsons”. I think that almost every State in the Union, as we say, has a Springfield.

The Springfield I come from is the capital of the State of Illinois and is well known because Abraham Lincoln lived there when he ran for President of the United States of America. Springfield has, in the last twenty or so years, started to own up to that fact. When I was a child we all knew, but didn’t really think much about it.

The shopping area of Springfield, like many other cites, moved from the center of the city to shopping malls in the suburbs. When I was a child living in Springfield the downtown square  was where you went to shop, see a movie and do your banking. My friend Grace and I went to town almost every Saturday to have lunch and see a movie. It all looks so different today.

First Illinois Capital Building - Springfield

First Illinois Capital Building - Springfield

The city of Springfield made a wise decision, in my opinion, when they didn’t let the downtown area die. They realized that they had some very important historical sites and that they should capitalize on them. Springfield is a city built on a square. This is my favorite kind of city, as I think it makes finding places very logical. The original state capitol building is located in the center of the square. It was the Sangamon County Courthouse when I was living in Springfield. Sometime before I was born the building was jacked up to add a basement under it.

Several years ago the courthouse was taken down brick by brick, numbered and stored at the state fairgrounds.   A parking garage was built and then the courthouse was reconstructed as it was originally built.

Union Station - Built 1898

Union Station - Built 1898

The Union railroad station that was built in 1898 was restored and a lovely park built in front of it. There is now the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum across the street from the railroad station. If you are ever in Springfield they are both worth a visit.

As we walked around the square I remembered many buildings and the stores that were there. Here is a picture of the Kresge Building that had the Kresge Five and Dime store in it. Grace and  I would have our lunch here or at Woolworth’s Five and Dime.

Kresge  Five and Dime Store Building

Kresge Five and Dime Store Building

The Herndon Building held one of the expensive department stores and stood on what I considered the windiest corner in Springfield. This building and all the rest around the square are office buildings now. There are quite a few restaurants  and clubs in some of the buildings on the square.  I was told that it is quite nice to go downtown at night now. The only things not there anymore are retail stores.

The Herndon Building

The Herndon Building

In front of the restored court house is where President Obama declared that he would run for the presidency. Across the street from the courthouse is the building where Abraham Lincoln practiced law. There is a very nice statue of him with his wife and one of their children in front of that building.

Herndon - Lincoln Law Offices

Herndon - Lincoln Law Offices

We took a walk away from the square a few blocks to visit the house where the Lincoln family lived while they were in Springfield. It has been restored and really looks better than it did when I visited it as a child.

Abraham Lincoln Family Home - Springfield Illinois

Abraham Lincoln Family Home - Springfield Illinois

All in all, it was a good afternoon of visiting downtown Springfield and reminiscing about what the area looked like when I spent my Saturdays there.

That evening Jan and I went to watch the movie “Valkyrie” at Pat and John Baisden’s house. Pat is my niece. As we were watching Jan looked out the window and saw the sun setting. He ran out and took a few sunset pictures. This one is my favorite. What a way to end a nice day.

Illinois Sunset

Illinois Sunset

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10 comments to Springfield Illinois – My Birthplace

  • Marilyn Cruickshank Ferry

    Eunice……I so enjoyed your Springfield trip. When were you here? What was Grace’s name? I did so many of the same things. I would walk to town instead of take the bus because then I could spend the 10 cents on candy at Woolworths. I am excited to look at you botanical garden info because I have been there and love it. Thank You! Marilyn

  • Anna Laycock Gathard

    Thanks for giving such good publicity to our hometown. It sure has changed tremendously! I’ve come nearly “full circle”–live in Chatham–which has also changed tremendously–from a small farming village to a wealthy large suburb of 10,000 plus with a high school larger than any of the Springfield schools!!!! Don’t get me wrong, although it is known as a wealthy suburb, there are still a lot of middle class and poor folks. I’m about as out of place here as I was in high school! ; )

    Blessing on all you are doing for Him in your mission field!

    Anna Laycock Gathard

  • Barbara Brunsman Olson

    What a lovely write up of Springfield…we could use somethings like this for the 50th reunion…thanks for the idea….hope things are well with you and that you have a happy new year….Barbara

  • Karen Holmes Hall

    Loved the pictures and the info you included in this. It was interesting to read what you wrote as someone who had lived here and left the area. Those of us here sometimes take it all for granted, but I have such fond memories of our downtown area as I was growing up.

  • Hi Karn,
    Thanks for this. I hope to get better this year and writing on this blog. I have just got the job of Director of Pioneer Bible Translators in PNG. I will not be retiring. This is an elected position in our mission and so I feel privilege to have the mission feel I can handle the job. Eunice

  • Thanks for this. Hope you have a good year also. Eunice

  • Thanks for your comments. My older sisters both live in Chatham. Maybe you know this. Eunice

  • Hi Marilyn,

    Thanks for your comments. I hope to do a better job at writing on my blog this year. I think I will write a blog on my home town now. I live in Madang Papua New Guinea about as far from Springfield as you can get.

    Eunice

  • ZydecoDoug

    You’re right about Madang being worlds away from Springfield, Eunice. I grew up in northern Illinois, not far from from Chicago, but there aren’t many places on earth as non-descript or bland as central Illinois. Okay, Iowa’s right up there. It must be amazing to live in such a paradise, especially when compared to how so many Americans live in places like Springfield, Illinois. Enjoy, and please keep sending back images, thoughts and inspirations to those of us in the States. I’m in a nice place in northeast Florida, but it simply can’t compete with what I see from Jan’s and your prospective of heaven on Earth.

  • Dave

    Eunice,

    Having spent a lot of time in Singapore and Malaysia. My home town is also Springfield.. Grew up on the North End. Miss Family and Friends…. I miss Pease’s candies and nuts.. I also miss horseshoes…

    Selamat jalan

    Dave

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