Old Images of Springfield, Illinois

Springfield Illinois old images and local history

Glimpse history through old images of Springfield, Illinois.

Springfield, the capital city of Illinois, is best known for being the home of the 16th President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln.

The Presidential connections don’t stop there though, because Barack Obama spent his early career in politics in the city too. 

1930s Springfield Leisure – And Then FDR Appears!

Tom Hamilton’s father recorded scenes of Springfield life back in the 1930s. These excerpts include the Memorial Swimming Pool and Lake Springfield. 

The final segment shows crowds turning out to see Franklin Roosevelt making a speech from the back of his train. People spill across the railway tracks. FDR uses a microphone, leaning on the rail. Then he holds his wife’s arm as he waves his hat to Springfield’s residents. 

Next, FDR’s open top car passes close to the camera – and astonishingly close to the crowds.

The final scenes of the motorcade is amusing because of the number of officials holding on to the sides of the cars, but after the motorbikes pass by you’ll see a final clear shot of FDR’s open top car.

Posted to YouTube by The State Journal-Register

The Strand Theater – Springfield, Illinois – March, 1942

Just a minute long, and filmed in the dark. But this is a rare home movie of the Strand Theater lit up in all its glory back in 1942, during the Second World War.

Posted to YouTube by lorenstuart

Illinois Capital Building 1960

Footage Crowd is a unique marketplace for stock footage generated from original home movies. This clip on their YouTube channel shows lost of 1960s fashion on display at the Capitol Building.

Posted to YouTube by Footage Crowd

WDBR-Springfield, IL from December 1973

Take  a step back to the sounds of December 1973. Lots of adverts to remind you of the businesses and activities on offer. 

Posted to YouTube by Doug Quick

City Council Crackdown on Skateboarders, 1988

Les Vann from TV 20 News reports on the city council’s crackdown on skateboards in the downtown area of the city, due for a vote the following evening. 

Ward 6 Alderman Jack Andrew says folks downtown are getting knocked down, pushed around and harassed by skateboarders. The reporter refers to this as ‘skate terrorism’! The punishment will be a $15 fine, payable in 15 days, rising to $30 if still outstanding.

Three young skateboarders, all unnamed on camera, say they aren’t doing anything wrong. They’d like a skatepark though.

Because the kids don’t have ID, police may be given powers to confiscate the boards.

The following day, the amendment was passed unanimously and the fines came into law. There was an hour long debate about the issue. Images include business owner John Proper, parent Mike Strong, skateboarder Richard Rhoades, downtown worker Blanche Mabry, downtown worker Robert Birnbaum, and skateboarder Jim Lane.

The VHS clip then reports on the Springfield beach fees rising from 75c to $1.50.

Posted to YouTube by strongvisuals

West Side Story Performed In Springfield, 1988

There’s no denying it, the camera quality of this 1988 home movie of a stage performance is not great. But if you were in the musical, or knew someone who was, then this will be a nice trip down memory lane.

Posted to YouTube by nomadrepos

B24 at Capital Airport Springfield, Illinois 1990

In 1990, a B24 bomber arrived at Capital Airport in Springfield. 

It was a design of a plane which saw action in Europe during World War II. The plane itself was finished after a lengthy five year project run by a private non-profit organisation, which cost more than one million dollars.

Along with a small collection of spectators, Newscenter3 arrived at the airport to watch that day’s events.

Frank Thomas, B-24 Radio Operator, appears on camera talking about the well developed plane wing.

Springfield resident Bill Bernard explains how the aircraft has been constructed using pieces of old planes in India.

Brian Glesenkamp from Havana then tells the reporters about his grandfather, a Squadron Leader in World War II, who was keen to see the plane. So Brian brought him along that day.

Posted to YouTube by Stephen Douglas

2006 Tornado Damage

Going up Macarthur from Wabash, the footage captures some of the damage caused by a recent tornado. It’s also a good chance to look back at the area in 2006 and see which businesses have changed. 

The images aren’t crisp, but cell phone cameras were still in the early stages of development. Most people could still only text and call!

Posted to YouTube by Zoom Zoomsqueak

Driving around Springfield, Illinois, 2007

Lots of 2007 images of the city packed into a clip just under a minute and a half.

Posted to YouTube by brodyjohnston

More about Illinois

Discover more locations in the USA

About the author