The Kid Zone
RUMORS, RUMORS AND MORE RUMORS
Being around the Capitol for a
combined 50 years the authors of this site have heard more rumors than you can
shake a stick at. You know the saying, ďif we only had a nickel for every
rumor we have heard in the Capitol we would be millionaires.Ē We have
heard them all ranging from the legislative schedules to motives behind certain
Well, it would be improper to
dedicate a site to the Capitol without listing some of the rumors about the
building itself. The rumors below are not in any particular order and if
you have any stories to add, please let us know. The one thing to keep in
mind about the Statehouse is that nothing is as it seems.
Rumor 1: The
Basement was used as stables.
There is no documentation indicating
that the Basement of the Capitol was ever used as a stable. Photographs of
the building under construction show horses in front of the exterior first floor
arches. Since these arches resemble the arches located in the Basement,
this may be where the rumor started. According to Mark Sorensen, Assistant
Director of the Illinois State Archives, the Basement arches are not suitable
for horses and would cause them to bend unnaturally.
Rumor 2: There was a ramp
built from Fifth Street to the base of the Capitol dome
we first met with Mr. Sorensen at the Illinois State Archives we discussed
common myths we had heard about the Capitol. This is an old one.
Many people believed that a ramp was constructed
over the course of several city blocks to deliver construction materials to the
Statehouse as it rose skyward. Helping to debunk this story, cranes are
visible in several construction photos.
Rumor 3: The House and Senate Chambers were recently
restored to their original state.
House, circa 1913
Although a recent
addition, this rumor is partially true. The ceilings and paint in
the Senate and House chambers have been restored to times past, although
not entirely as they originally appeared. The center of the ceiling
in each chamber was once stained glass, illuminated by skylights.
Photographs as late as the early 1900s show the skylights that once provided light for these ceilings.
Further, in our research we have seen many renditions of the desks that
have been in the chambers as well as different items located at the
podiums. There are photographs showing the Speakerís podium draped
by US flags. We have even seen what appears to be the same famous
painting of George Washington located behind the Speakerís chair and then
in a different year behind the Senate Presidentís chair. Even though
the chambers are most likely not precisely way they originally appeared,
they are absolutely beautiful and we applaud their restoration by the
Clerk of the House and the
Secretary of the Senate.
Senate, circa 1913
House-Eight spokes representing the letters in Illinois
Rumor 4: Beacon to Alert Springfield Police Officers
A 1907 photo of the
Statehouse decorated for the State Fair ..... with the beacon activated?
This is a rumor that we have
heard before and was brought to us by Mike Nolan. Mikeís father, John H.
Nolan, was a Springfield Police Officer from 1940-1969. According to
Officer Nolan, before police officers of Springfield communicated by
radio, upon receiving a call the Police Station would turn a beacon located atop the Statehouse on and
off. Any Springfield Officer seeing the light flash would then call in to
the police station from a call box to see if they could be of service.
Further, according to Mr. Nolan, he recalls discussing with his father
that Officer Nolan actually saw the switch in the recently demolished
police station located at Jefferson Street.
More information about this
subject comes to us from Milo Estill, whose father, Primm, was a
Springfield policeman in the 1930's. In those days the squad car did not
have a heater. During periods of extremely frigid weather, to escape the
cold for a while, the officers would keep an eye on the dome from the
relative warmth of the service bay of a filling station located on Peoria
Road. The owner, Ken Pflugg, provided the men with a key to his business
and they would back the car onto the grease rack, which offered an
unobstructed view of the Capitol.