Tag Archives: 200 Years of Illinois

On April 19, 1928, Illinois held its last public hanging as bootlegger Charlie Birger went up the rope in Benton on a spring morning. (We’ve published a book that tells his story.) For years, he had fought it out with his violent rivals … Continue reading

March 28 marks the date of a historic moment in the history of comedy. On that date in 1948, Jack Benny’s popular radio show aired one of the great exchanges in the long history of that beloved program: Mugger: Your … Continue reading

Today we turn over the 200 Years of Illinois feature to Steven Lenz and Nicholas Hopkins, authors of an essay (reprinted below) in the new UIP book The University of Illinois: Engine of Innovation. Lenz and Hopkins look into the life and … Continue reading

This weekend marks the anniversary of the Tri-State Tornado, the deadliest tornado disaster in U.S. history. On March 18, 1925, an F5 twister formed near Ellington, Missouri in the early afternoon. The storm packed 300 MPH winds and stayed on … Continue reading

Clear LaRue Road. Today marks the day officials close the storied roadway to assist of one of Illinois’s majestic natural wonders: the spring snake migration in Shawnee National Forest. The limestone bluffs come alive as snakes, as well as various turtles, frogs, toads, … Continue reading

On February 25, 2009, science fiction master Philip José Farmer—author of the Riverworld series and the Hugo-winning To Your Scattered Bodies Go—departed our reality at age 91. When it happened I wondered, How did Philip José Farmer end up in Peoria? But it turned out he … Continue reading

February 7, 2017, marks the approximate, not to say the exact, date of a landmark in Illinois rock and roll. On this day (more or less) in 1979, the Rockford band Cheap Trick released its walloping success of a long-play, Live at … Continue reading

On January 21, 1972, DC Comics declared the largely misnamed Metropolis, Illinois the official home town of Superman. Metropolis had already adopted the Son of Krypton, and as we all know the local paper famously called itself the Planet as a … Continue reading

On Christmas Eve, 1880, an Arcola painter-illustrator and his wife welcomed John Gruelle to the family. John sank roots into the professional illustration trade himself at age 25 when he sold cartoons to an Indianapolis newspaper. In 1911, young John’s … Continue reading

On December 13, 1984, a remarkable murder took place outside of St. Louis. Dale Cavaness, a physician in Eldorado, Illinois, killed his ne’er-do-well son Sean with two gunshots to the head. Sean had struggled for years with alcohol and other … Continue reading