Welcome!

Welcome to “Lithuanians in Springfield,” a site with almost 100 pages and growing! You will find 100+ years of family, church and business history with photos of the original immigrants, obituary info, veterans listings for World Wars I and II–including news & events from our community today. We invite you to browse, comment and connect! Email Sandy at sandybaksys@gmail.com.

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John Mack, Sr. on far right at ribbon-cutting for his second McDonald's on S. MacArthur Blvd., 1961

Who Put the “Mack” in McDonald’s, Springfield?

Anybody who’s eaten a McDonald’s hamburger in Springfield has feasted on a bit of local Lithuanian-American history involving a family aptly named “Mack” (Lith: Makarauskas). Three posts tell about this family and the business:
Who Put the “Mack” in McDonald’s, Springfield?
More Springfield Mack “McHistory”
Last Chapter: Our Local Mack-Donald’s Empire

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pazemetsky-couple-with-helenThe Baby in the Cigar Box

While chronicling coal-mining immigrants to Springfield in the early 1900s, I haven’t written much about the Lithuanian immigrant women they married, whose lives were equally, if not more difficult. I am told that newly-arrived, unmarried immigrant girls boarded at the downtown Leland Hotel, where they could be seen outside on their hands and knees scrubbing the sidewalks. READ MORE.

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The Cara-Sel, 7th and North Grand Ave.  Interior, undated.

Taking a Spin at the Cara-Sel Lounge

One of the more colorful Lithuanian-American businesses in Springfield was the Cara-Sel Lounge, 7th and North Grand Ave, operated for 17 years by World War II veteran Tony Yuscius. READ MORE.

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Alane.1927 wedding photoThree-Day Lithuanian Wedding: Eva Kasawich & Victor Alane

The date was Sept. 25-28, 1927. The location was the E. Reynolds St. home of just-deceased Lithuanian-born coal miner Paul Kasawich And his Lithuanian-born widow Anna Leschinsky, mother of bride Eva Kasawich. READ MORE.

And a second look at the gala affair… READ MORE.

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durbinPortrait_PhotoGalleryOur Lithuanian-American U.S. Senator

Senator Richard J. Durbin isn’t just one of the most powerful—and down-to-earth–political leaders in the United States. He is our #1 claim to fame as Springfield Lithuanian-Americans, and one of Lithuania’s best friends in Washington. READ MORE.

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ChicagoWilmingtonVermillionCoalThayerILThe Mining Life

The following excerpt on the sporadic nature of coal mining here and how that affected miners and their families is from the Sangamon County Historical Society’s Web page entitled “Coal Mining: Boom to Bust:” READ MORE.

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The Mine Wars

Oblinger.bookImmigrant miners in Illinois were soft-coal, deep-shaft miners who cut and loaded their daily quotas (as much as 5 tons) by hand. By the late 1890s, the Central Illinois coal mines had been organized by the United Mine Workers. District 12 of the UMW (state of Illinois) had a strong democratic rank-and-file tradition, according to Carl Oblinger’s book, “Divided Kingdom: Work, Community, and the Mining Wars in the Central Illinois Coal Fields During the Great Depression.” READ MORE.

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