This week in Illinois history: Aug. 12-19
Aug. 12, 1861 — Springfield. Camp Butler formed to support the Civil War. After this camp named for state treasurer William Butler was created, it saw tours of duty that included 2,236 enlisted men, according to the ILGenWeb project. Today it’s the site of a 53-acre national cemetery that’s also on the National Register of Historic Places.
Aug. 13, 1956 — Chicago. Democrats selected former Gov. Adlai Stevenson as the party’s next candidate for commander in chief. Although Stevenson lost the contest for the nation’s highest office in 1952 to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower with 55 percent of the tally, the party saw fit to seek a rematch four years later. According to HistoryToday.com, Stevenson’s pedigree from a longtime political family and his “intelligent, civilized and sophisticated” bearing were selling points. Unfortunately for Stevenson, he lost again to Eisenhower, who dominated the electoral college by a 457-73 margin.
Aug. 13, 1872 — Greenville. Bond County gains a newly incorporated city in Greenville. This city in one of the state's smallest counties was incorporated twice, first as a town in 1855 and then on this date in 1872 as a city. Recognized as a part of the Underground Railroad, Greenville may have received its name from a shopkeeper, Green P. Rice.
Aug. 14, 1908 — Springfield. Racial unrest surfaced in Abraham Lincoln’s native city. Untold injuries and 11 deaths are blamed on these race riots, earning Springfield the ire of Northern critics. The city was stigmatized for its alleged “intolerance, corruption and disorder," according to Roberta Senechal’s book “In Lincoln’s Shadow: The 1908 Race Riot in Springfield, Illinois." The Sangamon County history page says the NAACP got its impetus from this event.
Aug. 15, 1859 — Chicago. Baseball player-turned-owner Charles Comiskey was born. As History.com tells it, Comiskey overcame family opposition to his athletic ambitions and eventually played for pro teams in St. Louis, Chicago and Cincinnati. Years after the 1910 construction of the park named in his honor, Comiskey was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939.
Aug. 16, 1882 — Kirkland. A settlement launched by William Thomas Kirk becomes officially incorporated as a village. In 1875, some three decades after establishing a homestead, Kirk successfully lobbied the railroad to divert its course so passengers could stop at the fledgling village. The transportation of sheep and other livestock drove the village’s expansion over the next several decades, according to VillageofKirkland.com.
Aug. 18, 1971 — Springfield. President Nixon declares Abraham Lincoln’s home as a National Historic Site. Located at Eighth and Jackson streets, the Lincoln home had been kept in order by the State of Illinois. That changed when President Richard M. Nixon signed an authorization to preserve the former president’s home under the care of the National Park Service, according to NixonFoundation.org.
Aug. 19, 1924 — Evanston. Charles Gates Dawes becomes the Republican nominee for vice president. Evanston rolled out the red carpet for the 100,000 tourists who visited the city on the occasion of its native son Dawes receiving the VP nomination, according to Evanston’s history page. The presidential nominee for the same party, Calvin Coolidge, listened by radio to Dawes’ acceptance speech.