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.
June 4th 1903: Second Illinois State Arsenal was built
1904: Lincoln Colored Home opened
- This was the first orphanage for African-American children in Sangamon County, from 1904 until 1933
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
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.
December 5th 1931: Vachel Lindsay commits suicide
1932: Mel-O-Cream donuts founded
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.
May 2nd 1935: Lake Springfield reaches full pool
November 14th 1936: First plantings at Lincoln Memorial Garden
November 2nd 1947: Capital Airport dedicated
1950: Sangamon County Fair revived after 56 year hiatus