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5 Facts About Illinois's Capital: How Well Do You Know Springfield?

By    |   Sunday, 05 April 2015 12:58 PM

The capital of the state of Illinois, Springfield, is a city rich in history and cultural significance. Let’s take a look at five facts about Springfield you may not know.

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1. Moving Capitol City

Springfield wasn’t always the capital of Illinois. First the capital was Kaskaskia and, in 1820, it relocated to Vandalia. Springfield became the capital after Abraham Lincoln and his political group called “The Long Nine” made it happen. According to Abraham Lincoln’s Long Nine Museum, these Sangamon County legislators who fought for Springfield were named as such due to the fact that all of the members were over six feet in height. 

2. Illinois Governor Home

Abraham Lincoln made Springfield his home from 1837 until 1961. It was President Lincoln’s idea to build a home for Illinois governors to reside in. His bill appropriated $8,000 for this project; however, it was defeated in 1840. The idea was given a fighting chance again in 1853 with a bill that set aside $15,000 for the project. According to Magazine USA, when it was all said and done, the concept of the Governor’s Home was upgraded into a mansion project that cost $45,794.31 to construct. 

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3. The Dana-Thomas House

Coined as “Springfield’s most eccentric citizen,” Susan Lawrence was a wealthy woman who hired well-known architect/designer Frank Lloyd Wright to build her a $60,000 home in 1904, according to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Named the Dana-Thomas House, it featured a unique design that corresponded with Lawrence’s love for music. This music-themed home had coordinating art glass design for 250 windows, doors and panels, as well as 200 light fixtures.  

After Susan passed, appraisers located many safety deposit boxes all over the country. Were they full of money? On the contrary. According to Magazine USA, each of them contained feathers from her favorite pet parrot. 

4. First Drive-Thru Window

A Springfield restaurant known as the Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop claims to have started the first drive-thru window in the United States. Still in operation, the Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop also became well-known for the unique spelling of chili on their sign. The spelling error on their sign read “chilli.” According to Magazine USA, this caused the Illinois state legislature to name Springfield the “Chilli Capital of the Civilized World” in 1993.

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5. Barack Obama Declares Run for Presidency

According to The Washington Post, while standing at the Old State Capitol, Sen. Barack Obama declared he would be running for president in the city of Springfield on February 10, 2007. He also used the State Capitol as a backdrop when he made the announcement that Joe Biden would be his running mate on August 23, 2008.

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The capital of the state of Illinois, Springfield, is a city rich in history and cultural significance. Here's a look at five facts about Springfield you may not know.
facts, springfield, illinois
Sunday, 05 April 2015 12:58 PM
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