History & Architecture

During Springfield’s first hundred years, the Pasfields were one of the most productive and influential residents. Recently described by the State Journal-Register as a city showplace, the 1896 Georgian-Revival style home of George Pasfield, Jr. has been remarkably preserved as one of Springfield’s architectural treasures. Located just west of the State Capitol, the house was built on property purchased between 1835 and 1847 as the Pasfield’s family estate. The architectural style of the former residence was inspired by the Colombian World Exposition in 1893 which was held in Chicago. The young Pasfield returned from the Chicago fair and built his residence just prior to becoming married in a classical style that became so popular that it caused a classical revival movement in the United Sates.

George Pasfield
George Pasfield
1792 ~ 1869
Arriving in 1831 with his wife Mary Forden, the first George Pasfield the elder, assisted Abraham Lincoln in having the state capital relocated from Vandalia to Springfield, instrumental in underwriting the bond required to secure the move. The elder Pasfield served on the town board before the City of Springfield was incorporated, led the effort in early town improvements. Pasfield was orphaned at 10 years old, penniless and apprenticed as a cooper, which gave him the opportunity to travel to New Orleans and Havana, Cuba as an importer. Pasfield was one of the first to establish a business on the new public square and was advancing to the town’s early growth. The elder Pasfield started acquiring land on the far west side of "Old Town" where he eventually built his home and where his son and grandson resided their entire lives.

Dr. Pasfield
Dr. Pasfield
1831 ~ 1916
Pasfield’s son, Dr. George Pasfield built upon his father’s success. “City’s wealthiest man and personal friend of Lincoln” appeared as the news headline upon his death. An “owner of the most valuable property in the city”, Pasfield was a public-spirited citizen, a surgeon during civil war times, and a prominent member in the organization of the 1908 Lincoln Centennial Association. Pasfield, along with leading local businessmen like the Bunn brothers, co-founded two nationally known industries, the Springfield Iron Company and the Illinois Watch Company, changing the city’s employment and attributing to the urbanization and rapid growth in its early years. A November 30, 1916 editorial states: “There was seldom a worthy enterprise that was for the improvement of his town which he did not assist morally and financially... When others saw Springfield destined to remain a country village, Dr. Pasfield saw clearer. ”

George Pasfield Jr.
George Pasfield Jr.
1870 ~ 1930
Following the family tradition of commitment to make Springfield the State Capital, George Pasfield, Jr. served as president of the Capitol Grounds Purchase Association whose purpose was to enlarge the State House Site. Doubling the Capitol grounds, erecting the Centennial Memorial Building, putting an end to any further attempts to move the State Capital away from Springfield. He was also prominent in Springfield banking circles, managing his family’s expansive real estate interests and joining with other local businessmen to rebuild the Leland Hotel which had been destroyed by a fire in 1908. During a public parks scandal, Pasfield answered the call to run for elective office. The Illinois State Journal’s endorsement stated, “He is no politician, he is the one type of businessman in who the people can afford to repose implicit confidence in public office. ” In the years led by Pasfield the Springfield Park District made possibly its biggest expansion benefiting all parts of the City. Pasfield Park and Golf Course is named in his honor.

All three George Pasfields lived in the glow of the State Capitol Dome on the family estate which Springfield recently designated as a Historic Area.

More Pasfield Family History