Springfield is the current capital of the state of Illinois, the county seat of Sangamon County, and has a population of 114, 230. It is the largest city in central Illinois with just over 211,000 residents living in the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Sangamon County and adjacent Menard County.
Abraham Lincoln (16th US President)
Mary Todd Lincoln (First Lady of the U.S.)
Ulysses S. Grant (18th US President)
Stephen Douglas (US Senator)
Adlai Stevenson (Illinois governor)
Andre Iguodala (2015 NBA Finals MVP)
Robin Roberts (MLB Hall of Famer)
Jayson Werth (MLB All-Star)
Malik Turner (NFL)
Matt Mitrione (UFC)
Ryan Held (Olympic Gold Medalist)
Steve Christoff (NHL, 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team)
Morris Day (Musician)
Vachel Lindsay (Poet)
Brendon Small (Writer, Director, Producer)
Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live)
C.W. Post (Post Consumer Brands)
Gracie Gold (Figure Skating, Bronze Medal at 2014 Olympics)
Bobby McFerrin (Musician, “Don’t Worry Be Happy”)
The Springfield Jr. Blues are the oldest franchise in the North American Hockey League (NAHL), joining the league in 1993. John D. O’ Laughlin and Al Jennings were among the original group of Springfield hockey fans who helped found the team. The Jr. Blues were back-to-back Robertson Cup Champions in 1996 and 1997, and have made numerous appearances in the playoffs. Prior to the arrival of the Jr. Blues, hockey in the capital city had been led by the Springfield Kings of the Contenental Hockey League (1976-1985) and the Springfield Capitols (1988-89) of the All-American Hockey League.
The Nelson Center is a 2,100-seat multi purpose ice arena and recreational facility located in Lincoln Park on the Northwest side of Springfield, Illinois. The rink features two NHL-sized ice sheets that are used by the Jr. Blues, the Springfield Figure Skating Club, the Springfield Youth Hockey Association, and the Lincoln Land High-School Hockey league. The Nelson Center, or The Nelly as it is fondly referred to, also sports a Franklin Room that can hold parties of up to 200 people.
Springfield is home to several high schools and colleges. The lone university in town, University of Illinois-Springfield (UIS), is a public university that offers 27 undergraduate programs, 20 master’s programs, and a doctorate program in public administration. The university’s enrollment is roughly 5,700. Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) has a branch in Springfield as well as in Beardstown, Jacksonville, Litchfield, and Taylorville. The college offers general education classes, certifications, and Associate programs.
The local school district is District 186 and it features three public high schools (Lanphier, Springfield, and Springfield-Southeast) as well as five middle schools (Franklin, Grant, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Washington). Private schools in the area include Sacred Heart Griffin, Calvary Academy, and Lutheran High.
Sports in the capital city have largely centered around baseball, as Springfield was the home of the St. Louis Cardinals AAA affiliate from 1978-1982. In addition to the Cardinals, there have also been the Springfield Browns, Capitals, Rifles, Sallies, and Sultans who have graced the Land of Lincoln with baseball. Most recently, the Springfield Sliders have been the face of baseball, having began play during the 2008 Prospects League season. They are currently one of 16 teams in the college wooden bat summer league that has teams in Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
The Springfield Stallions, a short lived indoor football team, still stand as the only professional football team to have played in Springfield. While the Capital City Outlaws have been a proven force in the area for those looking to continue their passion for football, it’s considered semi-pro and the players are not paid.
The Illinois Express of the World Basketball League brought minor league basketball to the area from 1989 to 1990 and played out of the Prairie Capital Convention Center (now Bank of Springfield center). While the team excelled on the court, they were short lived and folded after two seasons.
UIS offers seven NCAA Division II sports for men (Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Tennis, & Track and Field), and eight sports for women (Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track and Field, & Volleyball). They are known as the UIS Prairie Stars. The baseball and softball teams each won their league championships in 2018 and hosted NCAA regionals, while the soccer team won three national championships (1986, 1988, and 1993) while they were still members of the NAIA.
LLCC offers baseball, basketball, and soccer for men, while women have basketball, softball, and volleyball. The LLCC Loggers baseball team has won two JUCO National Championships: one in 1994 and most recently in 2000.
The Land of Lincoln
It’s hard to go anywhere in Springfield without seeing the legacy and impact that Abraham Lincoln had on the community. The 16th U.S. President lived in Springfield from 1837 until 1861, but was born in Sinkling Spring Farm, KY and also lived in Indiana before relocating to New Salem, IL in 1831.
While living in New Salem, Lincoln was part owner of a general store, a Captain in the Illinois Militia, and , eventually, a lawyer. He would become a State Representative in 1834 and then a U.S. Representative in 1847. One of his most famous moments prior to becoming President involved his political rival Stephen Douglas. The Lincoln-Douglas debates were a series of seven debates between August-October, 1858 and are considered one of the launching points of Lincoln’s presidency despite losing the election that year to Douglas.
In Springfield we have many ways for you to enjoy the history of Lincoln. From Lincoln’s House, Tomb, and Law Office, to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, there’s a never-ending supply of mid-19th century history to explore around Springfield!
You would be remiss if you visited Springfield and didn’t try out the staple of local cuisine, the Horseshoe. Comprised of toast, your choice of meat, fries, and cheese sauce, the Horseshoe has become a mainstay of restaurants with each putting their own twist to the famous meal. Depicted on the Food Network on numerous shows, the Horseshoe was created in Springfield and remains largely only available in Central Illinois.