Monday, July 18, 2011

Historic Route 66: Lincoln, IL

The third stop on my sightseeing trip of historic Route 66 was Lincoln, IL, the fascinating county seat of Logan County.

Please read my previous posts about Dwight, Springfield, Broadwell and Atlanta-McLean.

Upon entering Lincoln, I happened upon the historic Postville Courthouse, which is actually a reproduction of the 1848 courthouse in which then-lawyer Abraham Lincoln frequently argued cases while traveling the 8th Judicial Circuit. At the time, what is now the town of Lincoln was named Postville.

The town changed its name in August 27, 1853 — naming it after Abraham Lincoln, who was then just a popular lawyer. As Wikipedia reports:

The town was officially named on August 27, 1853 in an unusual ceremony. Abraham Lincoln, having assisted with the platting of the town and working as counsel for the newly laid railroad which led to its founding, was asked to participate in a naming ceremony for the town. During the proceedings, Lincoln chose a ripe watermelon from a nearby wagon, broke it open, and squeezed the juice on the grounds, as an informal rite of baptism. The town of Lincoln was the first city named after Abraham Lincoln while he was a lawyer and before he was President of the United States.

In terms of the old Postville Courthouse, it is now a state historic site staffed by wonderful volunteers. The volunteer who was staffing it while I visited — her name is Wilma — provide me with a delightful 45-minute tour of hte courthouse, complete with funny anecdotes and detailed descriptions of the artifacts and furniture contained in the building.

The courthouse that exists today is a 1953 reproduction of the original building, due to the fact that Henry Ford purchased the original courthouse in 1929 and moved it to his estate in Dearborn, Michigan.

Following the courthouse, I made my way to the downtown area of Lincoln, which features its historic Logan County Courthouse, as well as a small monument marking the spot where Abraham Lincoln christened the town with a watermelon.

Please enjoy the photos below. You can click on any photo in the slideshow to view a description summary.

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