An Ursuline convent, built in 1764, serves as hotel de ville and law court, and a church of the 14th century is used as a market.
Among the principal buildings are the U.S. Government Building, the City Hall and the County Court House; and the city's institutions include the Laredo Seminary (1882) for boys and girls, the Mercy Hospital, the National Railroad of Mexico Hospital and an Ursuline Convent.
In the city are the state library (1842), the state law library (1839), the Illinois historical library (1889), of which the State Historical Society (1903) is a department, and the Illinois Supreme Court library; several educational institutions, including Concordia-Seminar (Evangelical Lutheran), the Ursuline Academy (Roman Catholic), and the Academy of the Sacred Heart (Roman Catholic); the Springfield hospital (1897; Lutheran), and the St John's hospital (1875; under the Sisters of St Francis), two orphanages, two homes for aged women, and a sanatorium; the permanent grounds of the State Fair (157 acres), and a state rifle range and militia camp-ground (160 acres).
The town is the centre of great educational activity, its schools including the New England girls' school, St Patrick's college, the high school, the Ursuline convent and state schools.
In 1834 an Ursuline Convent, built in 1827 on Mt Benedict, was sacked and destroyed by an anti-Catholic mob.
A convent school of the Ursuline nuns is a prominent feature on a hill to the south.
Other buildings are: the Roman Catholic parish church, founded in 1726; the church of the Ursuline nuns, built in 1474; the town hall, an imposing building of the 15th century, purchased by the municipality in 1545 and containing the archives of the "Saxon nation."
The town is the seat of other important Catholic establishments, including an Ursuline convent; a Presentation convent; St Patrick's Catholic College (1829) for ecclesiastical students, where was held in 1850 the synod of Thurles; and an establishment of Christian Brothers, who devote themselves to the instruction of boys on the Lancasterian method.
It was founded by Donnell O'Brien, king of Thomond (1168-1194); and owes its foundation and name to the presentation to his family of a portion of the true Cross, which attracted numerous pilgrims. The shrine of this relic is in the Ursuline convent at Blackrock, Co.