Springfield Journal Register, date of paper which originally published the following is unknown.
"THE OLD STATE ARSENAL, A REAL INSTITUTION IN SPRINGFIELD--
This impressive structure, of a castellated style of architecture reminiscent of the
middle ages, stood on the site of the present State Armory at Second and Monroe Streets, and for
three decades served as State Military headquarters. Through the liberal policy in effect during
that period, it was also used as the principal auditorium for the community. Innumerable large
public gatherings and notable social events were held there, and it became an outstanding institution
in the life of the community. It is worthy of mention here that the site, representing a total cost of
$50,000, raised by popular subscription, was donated to the State by the City, and the State appropriation for
the work was $150,000. State Senator Thomas Rees, late publisher of the State Register, played a leading
part in its promotion. Work was started on the structure in 1902, and the building was dedicated June 4, 1903,
by President Theodore Roosevelt, with a vast throng in attendance. The dedicatory ball held that evening was
one of the most brilliant social events in the history of the Capital City. The grand march was led by Mayor
Devereaux and Miss Mabel Ridgely, with 150 couples of the socially elite in line. As stated above, all of the
big public assemblages during the three decates were held in this building, including the State political conclaves,
the famous "Deadlock Convention" of 1904, welcomes to Presidents and other distinguished visitors,
State and national business conventions, the stellar attractions of the Amateur Musical Club, the Civil Orchestra's
symphony concerts, grand balls without number, etc. The building was destroyed by fire February 18, 1934,
the work of a 10 year old incendiarist. The loss was stated as $1,000,000. The new State Armory on this site,
for which $1,300,000 was appropriated, was dedicated in 1936. It is a magnificent structure, providing
greatly increased facilities for the State, but so far as its identification with the community life is concerned
it is not, and from all indications never will be, in the same category as the old State Arsenal. We
need a Municipal Auditorium!
Submitted by: Jeanie Lowe.