Abraham Lincoln Heritage
Courthouse Historic District
Parks, & Recreation
Business & Industry
Education & the Arts
The Professions & Social Services
Abraham Lincoln's law practice often took him to
this community from 1839 to the late 1850s, just before his election to
President. Today people throughout the world are drawn to visit the
Lincoln sites of this community, Logan County, and central Illinois.
In Lincoln, Illinois, the most visible site in the Abraham
Lincoln heritage is the Postville Courthouse, a state historic site (link to official Web
site). On the large Eighth Judicial Circuit in the mid 1800s, such
lawyers as Mr. Lincoln traveled by horseback to practice their profession.
Twice a year Lincoln worked here
from 1839 to 1848, when the county seat was removed to Mt. Pulaski.
1856, the county seat was relocated to Lincoln, Illinois, where in his
namesake town Mr. Lincoln practiced law and even substituted for Judge David
Davis on occasion until Lincoln's election to the Presidency. The
Logan County Courthouse Historic District
includes several other attractions relating to Abraham Lincoln.
The present Postville Courthouse is a replica constructed by the
State of Illinois and is open to the public. It is furnished with
"authentic period pieces. . .and exhibits of early Illinois judicial
practices" (Illinois Department of Conservation brochure, no date).
Across the street from Postville Courthouse was Deskins'
Tavern, where Lincoln and others stayed while on court business. The
drinking well location in front of the tavern is visible today.
Two blocks west of these sites, also on Fifth St. (old Business Route 66),
is Postville Park, where Lincoln socialized and participated in sports.
The portrait at the right, known as the Meserve
photo, is thought to be the first photo of Lincoln. It was taken at
Washington, D.C., in 1848, when Lincoln was a member of Congress. This
photo shows how Lincoln looked when he was in the middle period of his
activities in Lincoln, Illinois.
The small photo in the upper-left border of this
page, taken by Alexander Hester in Springfield, Illinois, June 3, 1860, was
used as an official campaign photo. Lincoln reportedly said this photo
"expresses me better than any I have ever seen."
Postville Courthouse (replica)
at Fifth Street (old Business Route 66)
and Madison Streets
Alleged First Photo of
Abraham Lincoln (1846)
(showing him as he looked during much of the time he was on business in Lincoln, Illinois.
(Photo in Benjamin Thomas, Abraham Lincoln: A Biography, 1952.)
Photo of Postville Park here.
As the railroad was laid adjacent to Postville,
business leaders founded a new community. They proudly agreed to name
it after their distinguished attorney, Abraham Lincoln (also the railroad's
attorney). See detailed
account of Abraham Lincoln's christening of the only town named after him
before he became internationally famous. The picture postcard at the right
shows the site of the christening near the railroad depot at Broadway and
The historical marker reads, "Near this site
Abraham Lincoln christened the town with the juice of a watermelon when the
first lots were sold on August 27, 1853. President-elect Lincoln spoke
here, November 21, 1860, while traveling to Chicago and while traveling to
Chicago and Lincoln's funeral train stopped here, May 3, 1865, before
completing the trip to Springfield."
Another major Lincoln site is
Lincoln College, the only
institution of higher education named for Lincoln in his life time. It
was chartered as Lincoln University in 1865. The name was changed to
Lincoln College in 1901 as a result of its affiliation with Millikin
University of Decatur, which lasted until 1953, when Lincoln College became
The Lincoln College building at the right is
University Hall, the institution's original building. It is now listed on the National
Register of Historic Sites. This structure boasts a towering cupola and
massive features in the Italianate architectural style. Lincoln
College Historian Andrew Lindstrom describes the beginning
of its construction: "Despite the financial difficulties which beset the
board, ground was broken on February 12, 1865, Abraham Lincoln's last living
birthday. . . " (Lincoln: The Namesake College, p. 13).
According to Mr. Lindstrom, "by September 14,
1865, work had progressed so well that the cornerstone was laid in
ceremonies with Governor Richard J. Oglesby [friend and supporter of
President Lincoln] delivering the feature oration of the day" (p. 14).
Financial problems delayed completion until 1866.
In this building in 1960-61, the author of this Web site was a student and
developed a strong interest in studying English as result of the teaching of
Mrs. Florence Molen. I also gainedan an interest in reading about
Abraham Lincoln as a result of the teaching of James T. Hickey.
The Site at Broadway & Sangamon Streets Where Abraham Lincoln Christened the
Town in his Name on August 27, 1853
(photo from 1996 postcard)
Lincoln College Seal
(from author's copy of the 1961 Lynxite)
University Hall of Lincoln
(photo from @1890 to 1901)
(Leigh Henson photo, 7-01)
| Two museums, open to the public, are housed in
the McKinstry Library of Lincoln College.
McKinstry Hall, museums
|Rustic Inn photo
Douglas Speech Historical Marker
at Decatur and Sangamon Streets
(Leigh Henson photo, 12-01)