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Points of pride

There was a time when county courthouses were designed to be much more than simple government administrative centers, where residents could conduct real estate transactions, pay taxes or contest a traffic ticket.

Following the Wright path

More than a century after Frank Lloyd Wright completed work on the Dana-Thomas House, his influence on local architecture continues to flourish.


It's all in the details

Next time you walk around downtown Springfield, try to take in your surroundings in a different way. 


Arts Feature

Sharing her passion

At First Christian Church's city of Nazareth, pastel painter and volunteer Sheri Ramsey becomes Rachel, the maker of beads.

Recycled goods become garden art

For two decades, Penny Zimmerman-Wills lived and died by a deadline. Today, she makes her own.


Leading roles


A day at the office for Missy and Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson is a bit of a balancing act. 

Recently, Missy could be found trading off answering student e-mails from her office at the University of Illinois Springfield and offering homework assistance to her daughter, who was off school for a holiday.Down the hall, husband Eric concentrated on grading student papers in his own office before packing up and breezing by his wife and daughter on the way to his next class.



Hauling history

In 1936, Chevy introduced the panel wagon, a commercial version of the Chevy Suburban and the prototype for today's SUV. Designed for light-duty delivery, panel wagons came standard with a single bench seat and rear cargo area of sheet metal and ribbed interior side paneling. 


Racing heritage

From 1947 to the late '80s, Shaheen's Speedway on Springfield's Dirksen Parkway was a hot-rod hot spot. The oval, quarter-mile dirt track known as "Shaheens," "Joe's," or "Little Springfield" became a Monday-night hotbed for midget car racing in the years following World War II.


Cobra fever

In 1993, Denny and Sandy Dickman retired, sold their possessions and their house on Lake Springfield and launched a 10-year ocean voyage in a 50-foot Kadey Krogen yacht. In 2005, having lived enough of the nautical life, the couple bought another house near Lake Springfield and again settled into regular life. 


Cover story

Civil ceremony

Were it not for the spectators sporting sandals and shorts and shooting pictures with digital cameras, it would be easy to believe it's the latter half of the 19th century, not 2011, as 20 men dressed in Civil War uniforms perform a flag ceremony at Lincoln's Tomb on a summer evening.


Welcome to the club

When a group of sailing enthusiasts got together in 1934 and conceived the idea of establishing a yacht club on Lake Springfield, it might have seemed a bit premature, considering there was no Lake Springfield at the time.


A career of note


As conductor of the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony, Richard Haglund has plenty of opportunities to speak to young people about careers in music.

He tells them to find another career. He tells them this as persuasively as he can. The ones left after he is done may just have a career.



Making garden magic

Clark and Carol Esarey's Springfield home boasts a captivating view. From their Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired and recently renovated cottage porch, you can gaze upon Lake Springfield. The scene captures the essence of prairie-style gardening.

Bring your garden to your landscape

Imagine a set of tiered, cultivated areas around the house alive with a profusion of blossoms, colors and greenery. Around the cultivated beds are bermed areas with stands of shrubs. Several different trees, some of them blooming too, are around the house and the outskirts of the lawn.

Alternative Landscapes

Interesting alternatives to that large green expanse of lawn are limited only by the supplies at area greenhouses. From grasses to containers, landscaping adds color, texture and interest even in the dreary winter months.

While sustainable landscape or landscaping that is eco-friendly and requires little maintenance has been the craze, we are now on our next generation of vegetation. Mike McWilliams of CopperTree, 3111 Cockrell Lane, says when putting in landscaping people are considering color and how things look year-round.


The journey from overweight to marathoner

When Kimee Armour hears people complaining about how difficult it is to lose weight, she immediately pulls out a picture of herself and shows them what she used to look like.

Eat right

We've all heard the old adage "You are what you eat." Now, more than ever, experts are concluding that eating fresh foods and avoiding sodium and preservatives will not only make you feel better, but will help to prevent diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.

Snap to it

They call her a terror; they say she's mean and she lies. But Lex Bitner, a personal trainer with attitude, wouldn't have it any other way and neither would her clients.


A real ranch home

For the past 10 years or so, Bob and Gail Hedges have been living their dream. As the co-owners of Cascade Ranch near Lake Sanchris in Rochester, they not only live in a rustic yet lovely oak log home, but also have been operating one of central Illinois' most impressive equestrian centers.


Pastoral paradise

About 40 minutes from Springfield in rural Petersburg, Kevin Purcell and Lucia Meijer call a very special place home. Visitors can't help but be impressed with the house that sits at 17257 Altig Bridge Ave. - but first they have to find it.


Park place


Visitors to the Springfield home of Dr. Mike and Nadine Neumeister can tell they are in for a treat even before they step into the well-built brick house at 1049 Williams Blvd. in Springfield.


Photo essay

Photo essay: The view from Down Under

Freelance photographer Tim Murphy takes us all the way to Australia this month for a photo essay from his two-week trip Down Under earlier this year. His adventure took him from Sydney to the nation's capital, Canberra, to Melbourne and back again for the long flight home.


City in bloom


The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis was founded in 1859 by Henry Shaw. A longtime fixture in the city, it's a National Historic Landmark and the nation's oldest botanical garden in continuous operation.


Photo essay: Animal attraction

What's your favorite animal at the zoo? The lion? The tiger? Or perhaps the okapi, a close relative of the giraffe?

Freelance photographer Tim Murphy of Springfield takes us on a road trip this month for a photo essay of the Saint Louis Zoo.


Making an investment in the future

Two decades ago, Bin Su was a 27-year-old marked man in his native China because of his presence at pro-democracy uprisings in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.


Celebrate while giving

Opportunities to step out in style while stepping up to support special causes are being offered over the next few months by a number of local organizations.


Funny business


Jan Ruby and his wife, Kathy Ruby, are best known as clowns Jelly Bean and Kupkake, respectively.

But during their twice-a-month visits with children at St. John's Children's Hospital through the Rubys' Clown "Doc" program, they become Doc Phil Betta and Nurse Bubbles.

And bubbles are what 3-year-old Delaney Beard of Raymond is wanting during their visit in April to her hospital room.



Time for luxury

Buying a high-end timepiece is not so different from buying a high-end car. Performance, longevity and craftsmanship are key - qualities that don't come cheap.


Glitter is in the air

The elaborate and impressive chandeliers that grace foyers and great rooms today were borne of necessity.

The perfect cosmetic bag

A girl on the go needs to have a cosmetics bag packed and ready. But - so many choices. After all, it's not called a cosmetics suitcase or a cosmetics trunk - it all has to fit in a little bag.



Geocaching: High-tech treasure hunt

It can be a solo adventure, a family experience, a chance for exercise, exploring or sightseeing; it could involve a code, obscure hints or solving a puzzle. In the past 10 years, geocaching has grown in popularity and evolved from a nerdy pursuit into an interesting and challenging hobby.

What's in a street name?

People always remember the name of the street where they grew up. It's part of their personal history and just hearing the name sends them on a trip down memory lane. But many people never consider how their street, or subdivision, came to be named. There's a history there as well, one that continues to be written to this day — one new sign at a time.

A collection of local collections

Every year Springfield's Own Magazine asks local folks a question. This year, we asked some of the area's movers and shakers as well as our Facebook fans, "Do you have a collection? If so, what is it and why do you collect it?" You might be surprised by some of the answers we received.

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