A Capital Originally Named Calhoun

The capital of Illinois, Springfield was originally called Calhoun. It was named after Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. This area was occupied by trappers and traders settling by the Sangamon River in1818. When the public no longer saw eye to eye with Calhoun the town was renamed Springfield. In 1839 it became the third city to be named the capital of Illinois. 

Springfield became a major center of activity during the Civil War. Illinois regiments trained there the first under Ulysses S. Grant. Camp Butler seven miles from the city opened in 1861 as a training camp for Illinois soldiers but also served as a camp for Confederate prisoners. When the war ended Springfield became a major hub in the Illinois railroad system and coal mining became a major industry by 1900.

Today people visit Springfield to see the State Capitol with its large dome and stained glass and historical statues. Other sites like the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Lincoln’s restored home and the Lincoln Tomb. 


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