The Sangamon County Historical Society has a busy schedule filled with monthly programs, special events, tours and more. Since we operate on a June 1 to May 31 fiscal year, our meeting season normally begins in September and ends with our annual meeting and dinner in June. July and August normally provide a break, but we're not immune to throwing in an extra program or event if the opportunity arises.

   In much of late 2021 and early 2022, our monthly program meetings were presented on-line because of Covid 19 regulations, but in April, 2022 returned to live meetings on the third Tuesday of the month, 5:30 p.m. in Carnegie Room North at the City of Springfield's Lincoln Library, 326 S. Seventh Street, Springfield. 

As in the past, our program meetings are free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the garage under the building. Street parking is also available. Special Events and Tours reflect the availability of the event or tour site. 

  For specific information about our monthly programs and other history related stories, go to Society News.
   For information about our annual events, see below:


   We normally hold three annual events, but when we slipped into 2020, we managed to get in two program meetings before canceling future on-site meetings and special events because of the Covid pandemic.. That meant the cancellation of our 2020 and 2021 Trivia Night fundraisers, our  Annual Echoes of Yesteryear Oak Ridge Cemetery Walk in October 2020 and Holiday Party in December 2020  (as well as our annual dinner in June 2021). Our  17th Annual Echoes of Yesteryear Oak Ridge Cemetery Walk, postponed from 2020, will be held on Sunday, October 3, 2021 unless bad weather forces its cancellation. There is no rain date. For details on the 2020 event, see below:

Mother Nature Puts Damper on 2021 Oak Ridge Cemetery Walk. Annual Event Rescheduled for Sunday, October 2, 2022! 

     We hoped you would circle Sunday, October 3, 2021 on your calendar, electronic or otherwise and you did, but Mother Nature forgot to pencil it in. As a result, plans for the Society's popular annual Oak Ridge Cemetery Walk had to be cancelled for the second year in a row, this time because of heavy rains and thunderstorms that hit the area.  Concerns over the spread of Covid put it on hold in 2020. 
    The outdoor event  provides a glimpse of the history and heritage of Springfield and Sangamon County.
    Some walking is involved, but the distance would have been somewhat shorter than in past years, about half a mile, noted Cemetery Walk chair Mary Alice Davis. Since it will be re-offered in 2022, we've left in place some of the suggestions and background we posted here for the 2021 walk. Both the sites and information will hold true come next October: 

    "We always suggest wearing comfortable clothing and shoes, and with the help of Mother Nature, hope to have nice weather for the event as we have in past years." The only caveat, she noted, is if it rains. "We do not have an alternate date. In the event of rainy weather, it would be cancelled."
    If the weather looks iffy, you can check the Society's website, sangamonhistory.org, its Facebook page, or call 217-525-1961 and hear a recorded message if there is a cancellation.
    All participants must park in a designated area west of the Oak Ridge Cemetery Bell Tower
    You can use either entrance to Oak Ridge--Monument Avenue on the south or J. David Jones Parkway on the west, but in either case, signs posted along the way will direct you to the designated parking area for the Walk.
    The parking area is located adjacent to the bus pickup and return area and also to an area where you can purchase snacks and drinks manned by the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum. Although there is no charge for the Walk, the Society welcomes donation to help offset its cost. The Society will have a table in the same area should you wish to make a contribution.
     The tour, “Echoes of Yesteryear: A Walk Through Oak Ridge Cemetery” will run from Noon to 4 p.m. The last tour begins at 3:15 p.m.
    At the seven sites selected for this year's walk, you'll find actors dressed in period costumes who will portray eight individuals who made significant contributions to our community. The personal stories of each historic figure will be interpreted at his or her respective gravesite in the cemetery.
    "Their authentic stories have been compiled by a team of Society members, all of them skilled history researchers headed by Mike Kienzler who developed scripts for each of the talented reenactors to perform as they take tour goers back to an earlier time and provide insight into their lives," Davis said. "The individual performances reflect several months of work and rehearsal plus thought into costumes appropriate to each historical figure. "
    This year's tour will focus on the gravesites of:
    Harriett Knudson (1883-1969), the driving force behind the creation of Lincoln Memorial Gardens, the Springfield Civic Garden Club and the Springfield PTA Council.
    Harriet Palmer Crabbe (1857-1948). The presentation would not be complete without the portrayal of Gertrude Wright Morgan (1861-1931), her life-long closest friend. Palmer Crabbe was the daughter of the 15th Illinois Governor.  Wright Morgan was the first African-American student to attend a white school in Springfield. The two walked together to school and remained friends throughout their lives. Wright Morgan fulfilled her dream of becoming a teacher in St. Louis and then Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, playing vital roles in Black and cultural life in all three areas. She was involved in the creation of the Niagara Movement, the NAACP of which she was a founder, and women's suffrage. Wright Morgan also died in 1931 and is buried in Mount Auburn, Massachusetts.
    Richard Dodds (1851-1921), was the owner and operator of a Springfield landmark drug store on the corner of Fifth and Monroe streets known as Dodds’ Corner, which became a de facto city meeting place near street car routes.
    Thomas Rees (1850 -1933) was the long-time publisher of the Illinois State Register and Illinois State Senator. Upon his death, he left funds to build the carillon in Washington Park that bears his name.
    Salome Paddock Enos (1791-1877) was the wife of Pascal Enos who opened the first land office in the Springfield District. He died at a young age, leaving her to manage his sizable land holdings. In 1837 she donated $3 million worth of property for a new State Capitol.
    William A. Northcott (1854 -1917) served as Illinois Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Illinois. He later became Head Consul of Modern Woodmen of America, a fraternal life insurance company that erected his monument.
    William Carpenter (1787 -1859) was an early settler who owned a ferry operation along a stagecoach line. The settlement was known as “six-mile house.” He later served as Springfield postmaster and had extensive real estate holdings. Carpenter Street and Carpenter Park are named after him.
    The popular cemetery walk, which is sponsored by the Sangamon County Historical Society and co-sponsored by Oak Ridge Cemetery, was held annually for thirteen years beginning in 1996 and ending in 2008. It was brought back six years ago by popular demand. 

 Sunday, October 6, 2019: 17th Annual Echoes of Yesteryear Oak Ridge Cemetery Walk, This year's tour had stops at grave sites of six early Sangamon County residents who had schools named for them and a seventh stop at the grave site of the first woman elected to the Springfield School Board. Costumed re-enactors portraying each subject were at each site to provide details their lives and accomplishments. The nearly 700 attendees were transported by bus from the start of the tour at the Oak Ridge Bell Tower to the first gravesite, then walked to the other gravesites before boarding the bus to return down the hill to the starting point, a distance of about a half mile. As always, the event was free. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2019: Annual Holiday Party. Every December, members of the Society and their invited  guests don their holiday garb and gather to celebrate the holiday season in a setting convivial to both conversation and delicious beverages and hors d'oeuvres. The 2020 Party was cancelled because of Covid,

Saturday, March 21, 2020: Eighth Annual Trivia Night:

The event, an annual fundraiser for the Society's Special Project Grants program, was cancelled in 2020 and March 2021 because of the Covid pandemic.

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