Many important historical events occurred in Springfield from 1900 to 1950. Hard roads and highways were built and this resulted in Springfield being less isolated and improved connectivity with big cities like Chicago and St. Louis. Rapid industrial growth then followed this expansion of infrastructure. There was a rapid expansion in the coal industry which sparked a rise in immigration especially from Italy. Events like the Race Riots and the Coal Miners strike were important incidents in the history of Springfield. A lot of these events had a powerful impact on the city and shaped the community to what it is today.Springfield in the 1930's

June 4th 1903: Second Illinois State Arsenal was built

Illinois State Arsenal in the 1900'sModern View

1904: Lincoln Colored Home opened

  • This was the first orphanage for African-American children in Sangamon County, from 1904 until 1933

Lincoln Colored Home

1904: Dana-Thomas House is built

  • This is an iconic house designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • It is a national historic landmark and is open for public tours.

August 1908: Springfield Race Riots

  • 11 people died and many were injured in connection to the race riots. 
  • 40 homes that belonged to African Americans and two dozen businesses that belonged to African Americans were destroyed in the riot.
  • Following the riot, many from the African American community left Springfield in fear
  • Markers are set up all over Springfield commemorating the event

Sign describing the Race Riots monument on 500 E Madison St, Springfield, IL 62701 on 23rd April 2019Monument Depicting Race Riots on 500 E Madison St, Springfield, IL 62701 on 23rd April 2019Race Riot Marker on S Old State Capitol Plaza, Springfield, IL 62701 on 23rd April 2019

June 11th 1913: Women are allowed to vote in the presidential and local elections

September 1917: General Strike

  • Union members shut down mines, railroads, bakeries, restaurants, laundries and construction sites across Sangamon County

1920:  John L Lewis becomes international president of the United Mine Workers of America.

  • Biggest coal mining union in the US.

Coal mining in Springfield

December 5th 1931: Vachel Lindsay commits suicide

1932: Mel-O-Cream donuts founded

Front window of the original Mel-O-Cream store

August 1932: Coal miners riot

  • Dispute between rival coal miners unions, Progressive miners of America & United Mine Workers of America.
  • Resulted in strikes, bombings, street riots and killing of six people.

Newspaper clipping

May 2nd 1935: Lake Springfield reaches full pool

Lake Springfield being built

November 14th 1936: First plantings at Lincoln Memorial Garden

November 2nd 1947: Capital Airport dedicated

1950: Sangamon County Fair revived after 56 year hiatus