“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Springfield in Sangamon County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Lithuanians in Springfield

Lithuanians in Springfield Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 27, 2020
1. Lithuanians in Springfield Marker
Inscription.  Lithuanians arrived en masse during Sangamon County's coal boom, numbering several thousand with their families by 1920, they fled political and religious repression, conscription, poverty, and a total ban on their language in the Czarist Russian Empire. In 1908, at 8th and Enos St., they built their "National" Catholic Church, St. Vincent de Paul's, which for 63 years was a focus of Lithuanian language and identity. In 1917, the church was called the most important "melting pot' in the city with 1,200 Sunday worshippers. Immigration restrictions, coal mine closures, and assimilation all took their toll on local European ethnic groups after 1920. However, the significance of St. Vincent de Paul's only grew when Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940 following 22 years of independence. With freedom in the homeland again extinguished, Lithuanian identity abroad assumed a moral imperative. National feeling also was reinforced by a local influx of World War II refugees under the U.S. Displaced Persons Act of 1948, and it persisted decades after St. Vincent's became Springfield's last "national" church to close in 1971. In 1988, a daring
Lithuanians in Springfield Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 27, 2020
2. Lithuanians in Springfield Marker
Outside Enos Park
"singing revolution" in Lithuania (1987-91) inspired 439 local Lithuanian-Americans to form a new club to celebrate their heritage. Lithuania was restored to independence with the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Sponsored by the Baksys, Chernis, Colantino & Urbanckas families; Lithuanian-American Club; in memory of Marija Jomantiene, Mecys & Antanas Valiukenas, Vita & Darius Zemaitis.
Erected 2012 by Illinois State Historical Society.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionSettlements & SettlersWar, ColdWar, World II. In addition, it is included in the Illinois State Historical Society series list.
Location. 39° 48.743′ N, 89° 38.764′ W. Marker is in Springfield, Illinois, in Sangamon County. Marker is at the intersection of North 7th Street and Enterprise Street, on the left when traveling south on North 7th Street. 7th Street is one way, going south. Marker is at the southwest corner of Enos Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 924 N 7th St, Springfield IL 62702, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. General John A. McClernand (approx. 0.2 miles away); The 1858 Senate Campaign (approx. 0.3 miles away); Reservoir Park and Lanphier High School
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(approx. half a mile away); Illinois State University - Concordia Seminary (approx. half a mile away); Acts of Intolerance (approx. 0.6 miles away); The History of Union Station (approx. 0.6 miles away); Lincoln’s Tomb (approx. 0.7 miles away); Stuart and Lincoln Law Office (approx. ¾ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Springfield.
More about this marker. Marker was dedicated on May 19, 2012, with over 100 people in attendance, including Springfield Mayor Mike Houston, who gave a speech.
Also see . . .  Lithuanians in Springfield, Illinois. A blog website that has a lot of stories and history of Lithuanians in not just Springfield, but all over Illinois as well. (Submitted on December 7, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 7, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 7, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 25 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 7, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
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Mar. 1, 2021