Special Events
in and around Logan County

Looking ahead


Looking back


Celebrating annually

A Railsplitter weekend

[SEPT. 16, 2002]  It seemed small from the outside, but once on the inside of the 32nd annual Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Contest and Crafts Festival it was a whole new world. In this world modern life met old-time entertainment and crafts on the Logan County Fairgrounds this past Saturday and Sunday.

[Click here for photos]

Enter the gate and enter into 1800s-era crafts, food and entertainment that set the backdrop for traditional contests.

The Indian village and 1800s settler encampment peacefully coexisted, displaying authentic crafts, cooking foods and mingling. The Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts each had their own camps too. It was peaceful between them as well. Visitors could even stop and try their hands at crafts such as dipping candles.

Down another path antique engines chugged away. Steam engines drove small carts about the grounds, whistling to each other. Antique tractors and antique cars sat on display.

In what most Logan County residents know as the beer tent, a lively bicycle show and exchange was in full swing. Bicycle parts, fixer-upper antique bicycles and finely refurbished antique bicycles filled the tent. Bicycle enthusiasts circled, ogled and heatedly discussed bicycle restoration.


Great food and great entertainment made lunchtime… well, great. The lines were short and the service quick. As one server exclaimed, "We’ve been running!" while she handed out corn dogs and lemonade shake-ups.

With something to munch on in one hand and a drink in the other, the entertainment tent with its rows of straw bales made a fine place for many festival goers to sit down for lunch or a snack. Old cowboy songs and cowboy poetry from the Band of Jolly Cowboys were one source of crowd entertainment. With a guitar, a fiddle, a bass and the lilting cadence of often humorous lyrics, the Jolly Cowboys brought smiles to faces and set many toes tapping. During a sing-along chorus, they announced "Dancing’s optional." If only corn dogs made good dancing partners…


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A day at the Railsplitter would not have been complete without seeing some railsplitting. Several railsplitting contests go on during the weekend. One such contest is the tree fall contest, in which five contestants line up behind five logs "planted" in the ground. The announcer briefly explained the objective, "We’re gonna see just how fast they can drop their trees." The first to "drop his tree" won.

Larry Hill, clad in red T-shirt and bluejean overalls, dropped his first. Hill and his partner, Marty Yount, also came in first in the next contest, the team split. They split a single 10-foot log into eight rails, tag-team style.

Hill sat back on his heels and just waited for the rest to finish. He has his railsplitting game down. Unfortunately, if there is a secret to his success, he’s not sharing it. In his Missourian drawl, "I just do it."

Hill has been participating in the contest for 17 years. His family participates too. His two sons won second in the team split.

Following the contest he issued a challenge to Logan County men since none were in the lineup of participants. This is one contest in which Missouri dominates Illinois, by far!

If you’ve done everything right at the festival, you won’t be walking away empty-handed. The craft barns boasted beautifully worked quilts and all other varieties of handmade decorative items. The flea market offered, by a quick count, everything.

[Trisha Youngquist]

Sesquicentennial Committee
plans street dance for Sept. 21

[AUG. 27, 2002]  Two bands, food and beer concessions, and dancing in the street are on tap for the Sesquicentennial FUNd Fest, planned for Sept. 21 in downtown Lincoln.

Two bandstands will be set up on McLean Street, one in front of the post office and the other by the parking lot at the south end of the block. Bobby Remack, a variety band specializing in swing and ballroom dance music, will entertain from 6 to 9 p.m. From 9 to midnight, Imagine That will heat up the night with rock. Greg Pelc of Lincoln is in charge of music and arrangements.

To allow for a family atmosphere, the beer area between the bands will be fenced off. Children’s activities are being planned for 5 to 8 p.m. on the Pulaski Street side of the courthouse square. Food concessions, seating and a stand selling sesquicentennial souvenirs can also be found along Pulaski.

Admission to FUNd Fest is $3 for adults. Children under 12 get in free.

The street dance is the first fund-raiser for the Sesquicentennial Committee. Money raised will go toward Lincoln’s 150th birthday celebration, set for Aug. 21-31, 2003. Lincoln Mayor Beth Davis heads the committee.

Sesquicentennial souvenir T-shirts and bottled water bearing the sesquicentennial logo will be available at the Sept. 21 street dance. Sharon Awe is in charge of selecting and selling the goodies. The T-shirts come in white or ash gray and cost $11 for youth sizes, $13 for adults small through extra large, and $16 for 2XL and larger. Red or white polo shirts priced at $40 will also be available. Designer water, specially labeled Gold Springs water from Atlanta, will go for $1 a bottle.

In other business at the monthly planning meeting, re-enactment chair Ron Keller said Bonnie Knieriem of Mason City has recently volunteered to teach classes in period dance steps. And the 33rd Volunteer Regiment band has agreed to play for a Civil War ball during the sesquicentennial. Knieriem’s recommended timetable is to offer basic instruction in February-March and refresher classes in the summer. Anyone eager to learn the dances of 150 years ago can contact Keller at the Lincoln College Museum.


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Once you know the steps, it makes sense to dress the part. Countywide activities chair Gillette Ransom said patterns are available for those who want to sew their own period costumes. She will work with needlework shops to stock patterns and appropriate fabric. Lessons in how to sew clothing are already planned at Sew Many Friends at 127 S. Kickapoo.

Also in the sewing department, the courthouse will host a quilt show Aug. 21-24, 2003. Laveta Zurkammer of Lincoln chairs the committee, and Toni Leamon of Mason City is the new co-chair. Leamon has organized the New Salem quilt show for about eight years. Joanne Marlin of Lincoln is in charge of an upcoming quilt raffle to benefit the Sesquicentennial Committee.

Finally, the town’s150th birthday party will provide an opportunity to check out all those Abe Lincoln rumors you’ve heard from time to time. History co-chair Paul Beaver said he has secured Johnston Center for the Performing Arts on the LC campus for a history panel to be presented Aug. 25, 2003. The program will begin with talks on Abraham Lincoln in Logan County. Then the floor will be open to anyone with a related question. Panelists will include Mark Plummer, history department chair at Illinois State University; Cullom Davis, former professor of history at University of Illinois-Springfield and head of the Lincoln legal project at Illinois State Historical Library; and local historians Paul Gleason and Beaver. Ron Keller will emcee the program. A reception at the Meyer-Evans Student Center will round out the evening.

[Lynn Shearer Spellman]


Food vendors sought for sesquicentennial fund-raiser

[AUG. 16, 2002]  Vendors are invited to provide food service for a Sept. 21 street festival that will raise funds for the Lincoln sesquicentennial celebration. Hours are from 5 p.m. to midnight. There is no rain date.

A $50 space rental fee will be charged.

Please indicate utilities required and respond no later than Aug. 28. Interested parties should submit a proposal to Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau, Attn: Thressia, 303 S. Kickapoo St., Lincoln, IL 62656-1534.

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.


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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.

[See "LC Museum named one of 10 best Lincoln-related sites in Illinois"]


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.


Stagecoach 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.


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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




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