The community of Postville was the beginning of what would become
the city of Lincoln. It was the original county seat, and the first
county courthouse was built there. Abraham Lincoln practiced law
there as a young lawyer traveling the judicial circuit.
The courthouse features authentic furnishings and memorabilia
from the time of Abraham Lincoln. Postville is open year-round for
tours, special speakers are often featured, and about six special
events for the community are hosted there.
Alderwoman Wanda Lee Rohlfs moved that the city do the mowing at
the courthouse, with Alderwoman Jonie Tibbs offering the second.
When the motion was opened for discussion, Alderman Buzz Busby
voiced his opposition, stating that not long ago the park district
had approached the council with a similar request, which the council
denied. He felt that agreeing to help Postville would lead to doing
all the mowing for the park district as well.
Shirley Bartlemay, the curator at Postville Courthouse, was
called on to address the council. She began by saying that this is
not expected to be a long-term need. Referring to the closing of a
large number of Illinois state sites due to state budget restraints,
she said that it is hoped that by next fall all these issues will be
Bartlemay said that Postville is fortunate to be one of the very
few sites that will remain open, and the reason is that there are no
paid employees at the site.
She added that the courthouse is manned by a total of 38
volunteers, most of whom are senior citizens, not capable of doing
She reminded the council that in addition to state and local
visitors, the Postville Courthouse attracts visitors not only from
around the country, but also internationally.
Bartlemay recounted a day when a couple stopped by who were from
England. She said that they were driving a really nice car, and that
she and others commented on it. The couple said they were driving
Route 66 all the way to California. They'd started in Chicago. When
asked where they had found such a nice vehicle for their drive, they
said that they had shipped it from England to the U.S. for their
road trip, and when they got to California, they would then have it
shipped back home.
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She also pointed out that the 1800's Craft Fair, held on the
courthouse lawn during the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival, attracts
about 2,000 visitors per year. She said that some of the
participating crafters have already started calling, wondering if
there will be a fair in 2009.
Geoff Ladd, who is director for the Abraham Lincoln Tourism
Bureau of Logan County, was present for another presentation. He
added to Bartlemay's comments, reminding the council of the economic
impact that tourism has in Lincoln. The average tourist coming
through Lincoln and Logan County, such as someone who stops at
Postville Courthouse, will spend approximately $135 at local
businesses while visiting here.
The council members discussed setting a time limit on how long
they would be willing to do the mowing, and Alderman Dave Armbrust
reminded them that when he was at the previous meeting, Guinan had
said that if the city agreed to take on this task and decided it
wasn't working out, they could stop at any time.
Rohlfs added that in regard to the park district, the work
involved there would be in excess of 14 hours per mowing, while the
courthouse would require only about 45 minutes per mow. Tracy
Jackson, Lincoln street and alley superintendent, added that he has
already had volunteers offer to do the work at Postville.
With discussions closed, the motion by Rohlfs was repeated. A
roll call vote was taken, and the motion carried that the city would
assume the mowing duties at the Postville Courthouse.
[By NILA SMITH]
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