Springfield boy

To earn his readers’ indulgence, a writer must take care that articles about himself be of exceptional literary quality or recount exceptional experiences, preferably experiences that impart wisdom that can be shared or—better, in my opinion—anecdotes that can be appropriated as one’s own.


These sort-of reminiscences satisfy none of those criteria. My personal column-writing maxim was to never write about anything I did not find interesting, and never, ever write about anything that really means something to me. Still, my life in Springfield life offered its odd or amusing moments, and most readers will be grateful that they reveal more about the place and the time than about me anyway. 

Reviewing these pieces, I was reminded that Springfield has never inspired first-rate-memoirs. [MORE LATER MAYBE.]

See also The author above.

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How I Became an Historian

Springfield as history class  


Stone magic 

A trek across a cornfield and hundreds of years  "Dyspepsiana" Illinois Times November 13, 2014  

In the Place of the Dead

A young author, Dickson Mounds, and the past

Focus  March 11, 1971

Good Neighbors

Life with Illinois governors around the corner

“Prejudices”  Illinois Times  July 11, 1980

Dripping Wet

Amtrak tests my maturity and I fail

“Prejudices”  Illinois Times  November 6, 1986

Immigrants Behaving Badly

The Krohes play Johnny Appleseed and get it wrong

"Dyspepsiana,"  Illinois Times,  July 24, 2014

A House in a Day

A 1950s box to put our life in

"Dyspepsiana"  Illinois Times November 23, 2011

Warrior Days

My career as a hardwood hero

"Dyspepsiana"  Illinois Times  December 2, 2010

The Cantaloupe and I

How a skeptic became a melon head

"Dyspepsiana,"  Illinois Times  June 27, 2013

My Life of Service

I go to a Rotary convention

"Dyspepsiana"  Illinois Times  May 15, 2014

Book Hungry

I try to be sophisticated. In Atlantic City. 

"Prejudices"  Illinois Times  November 10, 1983

Cherished Conceits

Gardening lifts up the author, then lets him down

“Prejudices”  Illinois Times  August 25, 1983

Hektor at the Supermarket

The author ponders the problem of home

“Prejudices”  Illinois Times  July 23, 1987

A Memorable and Happy Occasion

I pass up a chance to be 17 again

“Prejudices”  Illinois Times  May 23, 1991

Memories of a Jungle Gym

My Matheny, 'tis of thee

“Prejudices”  Illinois Times  October 21, 1977

Mozart in the Cornfields

Traveling without leaving home

“Prejudices”  Illinois Times  June 16, 1981


I grow up godless, learn that God doesn't mind

“Prejudices”  Illinois Times  March 5, 1984


On putting your money where your mouth is

“Prejudices”  Illinois Times  June 12, 1986


Race and friendship in 1960s Springfield

"Prejudices"  Illinois Times  August 26, 1977


What do we leave behind when we go ahead?

“Prejudices”  Illinois Times  November 18, 1977

A Place to Stay

The Hickox: City life in a country capital

“Prejudices”  Illinois Times  June 2, 1978

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John Hallwas

Essential for anyone interested in Illinois history and literature. Hallwas deservedly won the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society.

Lee Sandlin Author

One of Illinois’s best, and least-known, writers of his generation. Take note in particular of The Distancers and Road to Nowhere.

Chicago Architecture Center

See Home Page/Learn/

Resources for a marvelous building database, architecture dictionary, even a city planning graphic novel. Handsome, useful—every Illinois culture website should be so good.

The Encyclopedia of Chicago


The online version of The Encyclopedia of Chicago, Crammed with thousands of topic entries, biographical sketches, maps and images, it is a reference work unmatched in Illinois.

Illinois Great Places

The Illinois chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 2018 selected 200 Great Places in Illinois that illustrate our  shared architectural culture across the entire period of human settlement in Illinois.

McLean County Museum

of History

A nationally accredited, award-winning project of the McLean County Historical Society whose holdings include more than 20,000 objects, more than 15,000 books on local history and genealogy, and boxes and boxes of historical papers and images.

Mr. Lincoln, Route 66, and Other Highlights of Lincoln, Illinois


Every Illinois town ought to have a chronicler like D. Leigh Henson, Ph.D. Not only Lincoln and the Mother road—the author’s curiosity ranges from cattle baron John Dean Gillett to novelist William Maxwell. An Illinois State Historical Society "Best Web Site of the Year."

Southern Illinois University Press

SIU Press is one of the four major university publishing houses in Illinois. Its catalog offers much of local interest, including biographies of Illinois political figures, the history (human and natural) and folklore of southern Illinois, the Civil War and Lincoln, and quality reprints in the Shawnee Classics series.

Chronicling Illinois

“Chronicling Illinois” showcases some of the collections—mostly some 6,000 photographs—from the Illinois history holdings of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.

Illinois Digital Archives


Created in 2000, the IDA is a repository for the digital collections of the Illinois State Library and other Illinois libraries and cultural institutions. The holdings include photographs, slides, and glass negatives, oral histories, newspapers, maps, and documents from manuscripts and letters to postcards,  posters, and videos.




Southern Illinois University Press 2017

A work of

solid history, entertainingly told.

Michael Burlingame,

author of Abraham 

Lincoln: A Life 

One of the ten best books on Illinois history I have read in a decade.

Superior Achievement Award citation, ISHS Awards, 2018

A lively and engaging study

. . . an enthralling narrative.

James Edstrom

The Annals of Iowa

A book that merits the attention of all Illinois historians

as well as local historians generally.

John Hoffman

Journal of Illinois HIstory

A model for the kind of detailed and honest history other states and regions could use.

Harold Henderson 

Midwestern Microhistory

A fine example of a resurgence of Midwest historical scholarship.

Greg Hall

Journal of the Illinois

State Historical Society

Click  here 

to read about

the book 

Click  here 

to buy

the book

Contact James Krohe Jr. at CornLatitudes@outlook.com

All material Copyright © by James Krohe Jr. unless otherwise indicated