Special Events
in and around Logan County

Hoppin Watermelon Contest winners

[SEPT. 17, 2001]  The 31st annual Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Contest and Crafts Festival included the Hoppin Watermelon Contest. Winners were named in several categories. 

Champion watermelon

Marty Oltmanns — 19 lbs.

Matched pairs

Hannah Williams, Broadwell

Watermelon carving

1. David and Timothy Carter, Lincoln; Barbie Car

2. Rebekah Crider, Lincoln; 4-H emblem

3. Vernon Apel, Lincoln; watermelon slice

Watermelon preserves

1. Darlene Crider, Lincoln

2. Carlene Carter, Lincoln

3. Annie McLaughlin, Atlanta

Watermelon pickles

1.Carlene Carter, Lincoln

2. Phyllis Martin, Lincoln

3. Darlene Crider, Lincoln

Watermelon handmade needlework

1. Carla Ackerman, Lincoln; garment

2. Suzanne Behle, Morton; quilting

3. Carla Ackerman, Lincoln; crochet

Honorable mention: Darlene Crider, Lincoln; cross-stitch

Watermelon seed guessing

Jamie McFadden — guess: 7,620; actual count: 7,691

New winners, friends, family, activities, good food

Refreshing diversions found at
31st annual Railsplitting Festival

[SEPT. 17, 2001]  Three Missouri railsplitters and one from Illinois walked away from the Logan County Fairgrounds with the honors and the prize money Sunday at the 31st annual Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Contest. Marty Yount of Hiram, Mo., who has taken first place in previous years, is once again the national railsplitting champion, taking home a cash prize of $1,000.

[Click here to view pictures of the railsplitting contest finals]

[Click here to view more pictures of the Railsplitting Festival events]

Yount was the first to finish splitting his 10-foot red-oak log into eight even rails. Judging was based on time and also on the quality of the finished rails.

Taking home second place and $500 was another Missouri contestant, Ryan Evans of Silva. Ryan, who won fourth last year, is only 21 years old and promises to be back in the years ahead.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Oliver Friedlein, 63, of Hull, who came in second last year and has taken first in previous years, took home the third prize of $250.

Roy Usery of Des Arc, Mo., placed fourth and took home $100. Roy has been entering the competition here since 1987 and has placed several times.

Even if Oliver Friedlein decides to retire (which hasn’t happened yet), Friedleins will still be splitting rails in future Lincoln contests. This year Oliver’s son, Chris Friedlein of Leroy, and his grandson, Cory, also of Leroy, were among the contestants.

As usual, Missouri was well represented in this year’s contest. Also entering were Brad Jones, Tony Meloy and Jason Hill, both of Greenville, and Dwayne Yount of Hiram.

Kentucky sent three contestants from Hodgenville this year: Terry Obersen and brothers Daniel and Matt Trumbo.


From Illinois, along with the Friedleins, were four more contestants: Glenn Bryson of Lake Fork, Bud Johnson of Danvers, Jonathan Norwin of Leroy and Casey Jones of Lincoln.

All contestants brought their own tools: wedges, mauls, sledges, and double-bitted axes.

Winners in Saturday’s two-man team split contest were Marty Young and Larry Hill of Greenville, Mo. Jason Crider of Arrowsmith won the men’s amateur contest and, like all amateur winners, must now compete in the professional class.

Winner of the junior division railsplitting contest (up to age 13) was Tim Hill of Greenville, Mo.


[to top of second column in this article]

Another honor, a plaque, was presented to Ted Young of Peoria, who for many years has brought to the festival the miniature steam train he built himself and has given free rides to children.


Before the contest, the historic christening of Lincoln by Abe himself was re-enacted in front of the grandstand. Lincoln’s own Charles Ott played the part of Abe, cutting a watermelon with his pocket knife and distributing pieces to those dignitaries who attended the christening.

Those dignitaries, wearing appropriate costumes, were Robert Latham of Lincoln (played by Daris Knauer), Virgil Hickok of the Springfield and Lincoln area (Dean Tibbs), John D. Gillette of Elkhart (Robert Presswood), and "the little Stevenson boy" who wrote about the event later (Todd Schumacher).


A highlight of Sunday’s activities was a concert by the 33rd Illinois Volunteer Regiment Band, playing music of the Civil War era quicksteps, marches, ballads and polkas on authentic period instruments. Band members also wore uniforms patterned from actual uniforms worn by Union soldiers.

Historic displays, including quilts and other handicrafts; demonstrations of old-time crafts; a talking buffalo; Indian tents and lodges; antique machines and farm implements, some powered by steam; historic displays from Lincoln and other area communities; contemporary craft items for sale; a flea market; Boy and Girl Scout encampments; and plenty of food concessions were available for the more than 4,000 people who attended the two-day event.

[Joan Crabb]

[Ted Young of Peoria (second from right) gets a plaque from officials of the 31st annual national railsplitting contest to honor his many years of bringing his miniature steam to the festival train and giving free rides to children.] 

[Winners of the 31st annual national railsplitting contest took home a total of $1,850 in prizes.  From left to right are first-place winnter Marty Yount of Himan, Mo., second-place winner Ryan Evans of Silva, Mo., third-place winner Oliver Friedlein of Hull and fourth-place winner Roy Usery of Des Arc, Mo.]

Railsplitting contest brings
full schedule of events

[SEPT. 13, 2001]  The 31st annual Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Contest and Crafts Festival will bring a full schedule of events for the entire family to the Logan County Fairgrounds this weekend, Saturday, Sept. 15, and Sunday, Sept. 16.

The highlight of the weekend, the championship railsplitting contest, is set for 3:15 p.m. Sunday, when contestants will compete for cash prizes of $1,000, $500, $250 and $100. Working against the clock and seeking perfection in the outcome, railsplitters will work with solid red-oak logs which must be split into eight uniform rails. Splitters will bring their own tools.

Anywhere from 15 to 20 splitters, from the Midwest states of Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, are expected to compete for the championship, according to Nancy Kleinman, Logan Railsplitting Association president. The contest will take place in front of the grandstand at the fairgrounds.

The festival is based around the era in which Abe Lincoln lived, and its aim is to help promote tourism in Logan County, Kleinman said.

Festivities begin at 9 a.m. Saturday with an opening ceremony. The exhibits at the fairgrounds will carry out the theme of the Lincoln era, and many of them are geared to be educational for children.

A talking buffalo will tell visitors how the buffalo was important to Native Americans. Eight Indian lodges will be set up to show how native people lived and worked.

About 40 people will be demonstrating a variety of early American crafts, including skills like chair caning, woodworking, making apple butter and lard, making brooms, tatting and bobbin lace.

A frontier farm will include a henhouse with nests, a wash house, ducks and sheep, and a smokehouse for preserving meat for winter use.

A horse and buggy will be on hand both days to give carriage rides to the public for $1.

Historic displays from all over Logan County, including displays of Indian arrowheads, will be set up in one of the buildings on the fairgrounds. Other buildings will hold crafters from all over Illinois who have items for sale. A flea market will be on the north end of the fairgrounds.

A quilt show will demonstrate quilting techniques and display a variety of quilts. Bed-turning stories, on both Saturday and Sunday, will feature four women who take turns telling stories about the history of the quilts that are placed across an old-fashioned bed. Bed-turning stories on Saturday will be told at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. On Sunday they will be at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.

Steam-powered machines, such as corn shellers, and antique tractors will also be demonstrated on the fairgrounds.

Logan County Boy and Girl Scouts will set up encampments. Girl Scouts will demonstrate cooking skills and sell corn on the cob to fair visitors.

More than 50 food items will be on sale, including rib-eye sandwiches, grilled chicken, corn on the cob, corn dogs, walleye sandwiches, onion blossoms, elephant ears, funnel cakes and lemonade shake-ups.

There will be contests of various kinds, most in front of the grandstand, on both Saturday and Sunday. Most contests will award cash prizes.

Saturday events begin at 10 a.m. with the women’s firewood split contest. Contestants must split four pieces of firewood from an 18-inch log.

Also at 10 a.m. is the Fred Hoppin Memorial Watermelon Contest. Prizes will be given for the best carved and decorated watermelons.

At 10:30 a.m. there will be a log rolling contest in a 5-foot water pit, with teams of four men and one woman. A crosscut saw contest for women and professional classes will be at 11 a.m.

A tree fall contest, where contestants chop down logs "planted" in the ground to stand erect like trees, will be at 1:30 p.m. A team railsplitting contest will be at 2 p.m. and a junior railsplitting contest at 2:45. An amateur railsplitting contest, in which contestants split six rails from oak logs, will be at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.


[to top of second column in this article]

On Sunday a nondenominational worship service will be at 10 a.m. in a tent on the grounds.

A tomahawk throwing contest will be at 11 a.m., with both men and women trying to cut a playing card in two with a tomahawk. A rail toss contest is set for 11:15 a.m. and a cow chip throw at 11:30. A corn shelling contest for children, men and women will be at 11:30, with each contestant trying to be the first to fill up a can with shelled corn.

At noon three-man teams will make campfires and see who can boil water first.

At 3 p.m., just before the championship railsplitting contest, Lincoln impersonator Charles Ott will re-enact the Aug. 17, 1853 christening of the city of Lincoln with the juice of a watermelon.

On both days, a parade of antique cars and tractors will end the festivities in front of the grandstand.

On Saturday, entertainment will be provided by the Logan County Starlites at 10:30 a.m., Andy Wiesenhofer with western music and cowboy poetry at noon, the Flying Feet Cloggers at 1 p.m., and the Prairie Aires at 3 p.m.

On Sunday, country music will be provided at 11:30 a.m., and Andy Wiesenhofer will appear again at 12:30. At 1:30 p.m. the Civil War Band from Bloomington will present a program, playing Civil War-era instruments and talking to the public about the times and the music of the era.

On both days, there will be drawings for cash prizes. Admission to the fairgrounds is $2 per person, with children under 12 free. Parking is free, and handicapped parking is available.

"The railsplitting contest is a tradition here in Logan County," Kleinman said. "We have been doing it for 31 years and never missed a year. Our motto is, ‘Visit the past, enjoy the present.’"

[Joan Crabb]


See also: http://www.lincolnillinois.com/

Special Events Calendar

September 2001

Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 13-15
WHO: Public
WHAT: Atlanta Fall Festival

WHERE: Atlanta

Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15 and 16
WHO: Public
WHAT: Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Contest and Crafts Festival

WHERE: Logan County Fairgrounds
WHEN: 9:30 am - 4 pm Saturday; 10 am - 3 pm Sunday

SPONSOR: Clark's Greenhouse Herbal and Country Garden
WHAT: Herb Fest and Fall Harvest Market; (309) 247-3679

WHERE: San Jose

September TBA
WHO: Public
WHAT: Harvest Festival

WHERE: Scully Park, downtown Lincoln



[to top of second column in this section]

October 2001

Saturday, Oct. 20
SPONSOR: St. John United Church of Christ
WHAT: German Fest

WHERE: St. John United Church of Christ, Seventh Street
WHEN: 11 am - 6 pm

WHO: Public
WHAT: 1850s open house

WHERE: Mount Pulaski Courthouse
WHEN: 1-8 pm

SPONSOR: Knapp/Chesnut/Becker Historical Society
WHAT: Turkey supper

WHERE: New Holland-Middletown School, Middletown
WHEN: 4-7 pm

Saturday, Oct. 27
SPONSOR: Lincoln Christian Church
WHAT: Harvest of Talents, benefiting the International Disaster Emergency Service

WHERE: 204 N. McLean St.
WHEN: Daylong activities

SPONSOR: Eminence Christian Church
WHAT: Eminence Christian Church bazaar

WHERE: Atlanta Community Building, city roads 2500 North and 1600 East
WHEN: 8 am - 2 pm

Tuesday, Oct. 30
SPONSOR: Lincoln Park District
WHAT: Halloween Funfest

WHERE: Lincoln Park District ballroom, 900 Primm Road
WHEN: 6:30-8 pm


[Click here for more information on October, November and December events.]

Sites to See

‘Walking on the Path of Abraham Lincoln’

A walking tour of historic Lincoln, Ill.

Note: The following material is from a brochure produced as a high school project by J.R. Glenn and Angie Couch for Main Street Lincoln. The Main Street Lincoln office and local tourist information center is on the second floor of Union Planter’s Bank at 303 S. Kickapoo.

[Click here for larger map]

1. Town christening site

Broadway and Chicago streets

In August 1853 the first sale of lots in the new town of Lincoln took place near this spot. Abraham Lincoln, in whose honor the town was named, was in attendance. When asked on the day of the land sale to officially "christen the town," Lincoln obliged. Lifting the cover off a pile of watermelons stacked on the ground by a local farmer, Lincoln picked up a melon and conducted a brief ceremony using its juice. Lincoln, Ill., is the only town named for Lincoln before he became president.

2. Lincoln railroad depot

101 N. Chicago St.

Abraham Lincoln frequented this city by train after its founding. As president-elect, Lincoln came hereon Nov. 21, 1860. He stopped near this spot to make a few remarks from the rear of his train. This was his last speech in Logan County and the last time Lincoln would visit his namesake city. His funeral train stopped here on May 3, 1865. The current depot was built several decades later, in 1911.

3. State Bank of Lincoln

111 N. Sangamon St.

Abraham Lincoln met sculptor Leonard Volk for the first time on the boardwalk in front of the Lincoln House Hotel. Volk asked Lincoln to pose for a bust and life mask of his face and hands. Signed copies of the life masks by Volk, as well as original artwork by Lloyd Ostendorf of Lincoln in Logan County, are on display in this bank building’s lobby.

4. Site of the Lincoln House Hotel

501 Broadway St.

The Lincoln House, one of the grandest hotels between St. Louis and Chicago, stood on this spot from 1854 to 1870. All the political luminaries of the day, including Abraham Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas, David Davis and Richard Oglesby, crossed its threshold at one time or another The Lincoln House was a two-story frame structure that fronted the railroad tracks and featured a large veranda.

5. Robert Latham home site

400 N. Kickapoo St.

Robert B. Latham joined John D. Gillett and Virgil Hickox in founding the town of Lincoln in 1853. Abraham Lincoln, other lawyers and judges were often guests at his house.

6. Logan County Courthouse

When Lincoln became the county seat in 1853, a courthouse was built on this spot. A second courthouse was built in 1858 and remained in use until the early 20th century, when it was replaced with the current building. Abraham Lincoln practiced law and attended political functions in the first two courthouses built on the square. A statue of Lincoln stands in this courthouse. A Civil War monument and cannon sit on the north side of the courthouse grounds.

7. Lincoln lot site

523 Pulaski St.

A plaque located on the right-hand side of this store identifies the location as a lot Lincoln once owned. James Primm, in need of money, approached former Illinois Gov. Joel Matteson for a $400 advance. Matteson directed him to have Lincoln sign a note as Primm's guarantor. Lincoln co-signed the note. Later Primm defaulted and Lincoln had to pay the note. Eventually Primm deeded Lincoln this property in recompense.


[to top of second column in this section]

8. Rustic Inn

412 Pulaski St.

In 1876 members of a counterfeiting gang met here to hatch a plot to steal Lincoln's corpse from its burial vault in Springfield. The gang had planned to hide Lincoln's body in the Indiana sand dunes on the shore of Lake Michigan and negotiate with the governor of Illinois for $200,000 in cash and the release of Ben Boyd. The bartender at the Rustic Inn overheard the plot and reported it to the authorities. The Secret Service later apprehended the gang members. Robert Todd Lincoln had his father's coffin encased in several tons of cement to prevent future attempts to steal the body.

Other Lincoln sites in Lincoln

9. Stephen A. Douglas speech site

Comer of Fourth and Logan streets

Stephen Douglas visited this city during the famous 1858 Illinois senatorial campaign. Douglas paraded with all his supporters through the decorated streets to the tent that was pitched on this site. Lincoln, who was also in town, listened to his opponent from the back of the crowd. In the end, a majority of Logan County voters favored Lincoln, but Douglas won the 1858 election.

10. Postville Courthouse

914 Fifth St.

This state historic site is a replica of an 1840 courthouse where Lincoln argued, won and lost cases while he traveled the 8th Judicial Circuit.

11. Site of Deskins Tavern

915 Fifth St.

Lincoln often stayed at Deskins Tavern when he traveled to Postville. A well where he quenched his thirst is also at this site.

12. Postville Park

1300 Fifth St.

Abraham Lincoln was well-known for his athletic abilities, and he frequently joined in games of "town ball" at this village park.

13. Lincoln College and Museum

300 Keokuk St.

A nationally registered landmark, Lincoln College was founded and named for President Lincoln on Feb. 12, 1865. The museum houses an extensive collection of memorabilia on the life of Abraham Lincoln.

Other sites of interest in downtown Lincoln 

Lincoln Public Library (a Carnegie building)

725 Pekin St.

Logan County Genealogical
& Historical Society

114 N. Chicago St.

Lincoln City Hall

700 Broadway St.

U.S. Post Office

102 S. McLean St.

Courthouse Square Historic District

including historic sites, restaurants and shops

[Click here for larger map]

Logan County historical landmarks


J. H. Hawes wooden country elevator. Open Sunday afternoons June through August. Free.

Atlanta Public Library and Museum. On National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1908. Comer of Race and Arch. Phone (217) 648-2112. Free.


Monument proclaims the geographic center of the state of Illinois. Town was laid out in 1872.


Elkhart Cemetery. Richard J. Oglesby, who was elected governor of Illinois in 1864, 1872 and 1884, is buried here; also John Dean Gillett, known as the "Cattle King of the World," and Capt. Adam Bogardus, wing shot champion of the world. For tours of the cemetery and John Dean Gillett Chapel, please phone (217) 947-2238.


Bethel Church. Built in 1854. Three miles from Route 136 between Emden and Atlanta on County Road 20.


Site of Deskins Tavern. Across the street from Postville Courthouse, 915 Fifth St. Signage. Free.

Site of well Abraham Lincoln drank from. Across the street from Postville Courthouse, 915 Fifth St. Free.

Site of town christening by Abraham Lincoln on Aug. 27, 1853. Lincoln was the first community in the United States to be named for Abraham Lincoln before he became famous. Also, Lincoln's funeral train stopped here on May 3,1865. Located at the south side of the Lincoln Depot, Broadway and Chicago streets. Official Looking for Lincoln signage. Free.

Logan County Courthouse. Contains second-largest courtroom in Illinois. Built in 1905. Located on the courthouse square, downtown Lincoln. Open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; Saturday until noon. Phone (217) 732-6400. Free.

Lincoln College Museum. Over 3,000 historic items. Lincoln College was founded and named for President Lincoln on Feb. 12, 1865. Keokuk and Ottawa streets. Summer hours: 9 to 4 Monday through Friday; 1 to 4 Saturday and Sunday; closed May 28 and July 4. Free.

Heritage In Flight Museum. Museum is filled with memorabilia from all U.S. military conflicts back to World War I. Located at the Logan County Airport. Phone ahead (217) 732-3333 to confirm hours. Free but donations accepted.

Lincoln Public Library. Original Carnegie library built in 1902. Tiffany-style glass inner dome. 725 Pekin St. Open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 9 to 6; Saturday, 9 to 3. Phone (217) 732-8878. Free.

Postville Courthouse State Historic Site. Guided tours. 914 Fifth St. Noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Ph. (217) 732-8930 for additional information. Free but donations accepted.


Stage Coach Inn. The inn was on the old stage route from Springfield to Peoria. Built mid 1800s. Village is also famous for its aeronautical history. Free.

Mount Pulaski

Mount Pulaski Courthouse. This building is one of only two original 8th Judicial Circuit courthouses in Illinois. On National Register of Historic Places. Was Logan County Courthouse from 1847 to 1855. Guided tours. Open 12 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday. Phone (217) 732-8930. Free.

[Link to historical information on communities in Logan County]

Heritage In Flight Museum open on weekends

A little-known historical site full of large and small treasures sits on the outskirts of town on the Logan County Airport property. The Heritage In Flight Museum building itself is a part of history. It is a remnant of Camp Ellis, located west of Havana, which was the largest military training and prisoner-of-war camp in the United States during World War II. After the war the camp was closed and the buildings were sold. Logan County Airport is fortunate to have one of the few remaining structures from Camp Ellis.

A little-known historical site full of large and small treasures sits on the outskirts of town on the Logan County Airport property. The Heritage In Flight Museum building itself is a part of history. It is a remnant of Camp Ellis, located west of Havana, which was the largest military training and prisoner-of-war camp in the United States during World War II. After the war the camp was closed and the buildings were sold. Logan County Airport is fortunate to have one of the few remaining structures from Camp Ellis.

Several historic items are found outside at the airport, including the rotating beacon, the green-and-white light that identifies the airport location to pilots flying at night. Before being moved to Logan County Airport, it was part of the lighted airway system that the airmail pilots in the 1920s used to navigate at night. The one that now resides here was originally located between Lincoln and Atlanta and provided a bright signal for Charles Lindbergh when he flew the airmail route between St. Louis and Chicago.

While outside you can also view a number of aircraft that are on display from various time periods.

Moving to the inside, you find that the Heritage in Flight Museum is filled with items of aviation history from the military and civilian branches of flying and from the earliest days of open-cockpit biplanes to the latest jets. Veterans who reside in Logan County have donated much of what the museum has. Families from the community have donated items that belonged to our war heroes, revealing special sentiments, symbolism and forgotten practices that held a community together in war times. Other items offer a look at early technology such as the airplane and ship radios. Of the thousands of items in the museum, each can be said to teach us something about our past. Visitors can relive history through the numerous displays, mostly grouped in wartime periods, and gain a strong sense of patriotism while studying military displays throughout the building.


[to top of second column in this article]


A guided tour is recommended to get the most from these displays. The volunteers are both knowledgeable and passionate about their subject matter and will bring to light little-known nuances that make the displays fascinating.

The museum is always interested in adding items of aviation history. Its greatest need, however, is for more volunteers to help in the guardianship of this important gateway to Lincoln and Logan County.

The museum requires lots of care and maintenance. Members are always looking for interested people of all ages to help care for it, share their interests and preserve a bit of aviation history.

Heritage In Flight Museum is operated by an all-volunteer, non-profit organization: Heritage-In-Flight, Inc. You are invited to come meet the members and sit in on their meetings anytime. Meetings take place at 1 p.m. the first Saturday of each month in the terminal meeting room.

The museum is a great resource to educate our youth about our aeronautical and military past and shares the wealth of military traditions from a community and national perspective. Schools, youth groups and families are welcome.

Heritage in Flight Museum

1351 Airport Road, Lincoln

Open Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Phone: (217) 732-3333

Call the airport and leave a message to request a guided tour, schedule a time during the week or ask for more information.


You can read more about HIF from the archives of LDN. Go to: http://archives.lincolndailynews.com/2001/Feb/15/comunity/business.shtml#Logan County is host to a unique museum rich in special military stories and treasures



  • Lincoln Park District, 732-8770



Blue Dog Inn
111 S. Sangamon
Monday 11-2
Tuesday-Thursday 11-10
Friday & Saturday 11-11

2815 Woodlawn Road




Community Information

Links to Other Tourism Sites in Illinois

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Letters to the Editor