Special Events
in and around Logan County

Upcoming events

Recent events


Events in months past

Annual celebrations

Lincoln Sesquicentennial week events

Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 21-23, 2003: Kickoffs 

  • Sesquicentennial week

  • 30th annual Lincoln Art Fair

  • 15th annual Lincoln Balloon Festival weekend

Sunday, Aug. 24:  Postville – “Where It All Began” Day 

  • Dedication of the Abraham Lincoln well

  • 1860s craft show

  • Ice cream social and

Monday, Aug. 25:  Lincoln Heritage Day

  • "The Story of Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln and Logan County" presentation

Tuesday, Aug. 26:  Business & Industry Day

  • Business open house

  • 1860s baseball game

  • Underground Railroad display

Wednesday, Aug. 27:  Lincoln Founders Day

  • Christening re-enactments

  • 1850s-1860s music

  • Special postal pictorial cancellation

Thursday, Aug. 28:  Agriculture Day

  • Community dinner

  • 1850s farming demonstration

  • Abraham Lincoln play

Friday, Aug. 29:  Education Day

  • Local celebrities' homecoming

  • '50s-'60s community dance

  • Lincoln Ethnic Festival

Saturday, Aug. 30:  Homecoming Day

  • “All Lincoln” community parade

  • 33rd Regimental Infantry Union demonstration

  • Grand ball

Sunday, Aug. 31:  Religious Day

  • Community church services

  • Outdoor concert

Well restoration brings back local history

[FEB. 21, 2003]  It won't be long before thirsty Lincoln residents can pump themselves a drink of water from the Abraham Lincoln well, Terry "T.W." Werth told the Lincoln City Council Tuesday evening.

The check for $10,000 from former state Sen. Robert Madigan's member initiative funds is in the bank, and work can begin as soon as the weather permits. Werth said Charles E. Jolly, owner of Reynolds Well Drilling Group of Springfield, is ready and waiting to start. The well is located outside the VFW Hall at 915 Fifth St.

Local historians say Abraham Lincoln would have used water from this well, the only one in the old town of Postville, when he was trying law cases at the Postville Courthouse across the street and staying at the Deskins hotel, on the present VFW site.

For those who want a memento of the historic well, there will be about 1,150 bricks available that had to be removed from the well to meet health department regulations. The hand-cut bricks will be sealed to prevent deterioration and will carry a brass plaque saying they are from the well Lincoln often drank from while on the 8th Judicial Circuit. Each brick will cost $25. The money will be used for the well's maintenance.

The well will be dedicated on Aug. 24, 2003, the first day of the upcoming Sesquicentennial, when the city of Lincoln will celebrate its 150th birthday, Mayor Beth Davis said.

Werth, a local businessman and a county board member, has been dedicated to restoring the well for the past 2½ years, since the day his curiosity got the best of him and he asked Street Superintendent Donnie Osborne to lift the well's old wooden cover and see what was under it.

He had been driving by the site for years, he said, wondering if the old well was still there. The well was ordered closed back in 1915 because it was a health hazard, as tests from the University of Illinois showed it contained typhoid fever germs. Because of that order, Werth thought he might see only fill when the cover was removed.


However, what he saw was the historic well much they way it had looked when it was dug about 1843.

"They abandoned it but didn't fill it in. Lucky for us," he said.

The 34-foot-deep oval-shaped well was dug in three sections, the first two lined with brick and the last lined with wood, probably cedar, which is still perfectly preserved, he said.

"The builders started working at the top so it wouldn't cave in on them," Werth said. He said they used half-moon-shaped boards to hold the soil back, then lined a section with brick before they dug deeper. Each section is narrower than the one above, the top section being about 7-by-8 feet, the next one 6-by-7 feet and the wooden section 5-by-6 feet.

Werth sent a camera down to take pictures of each section of the well. These pictures, a valuable historic record of the way wells were once constructed, will be on display at the Postville Courthouse when they are suitably framed, he said.


[to top of second column in this article]

Werth said that when debris in the old well was pumped out, it was hauled out to the sewer plant, where he went through it carefully. The only thing of value he found was a gold watch case; the watch it once held had eroded away. He thinks a wealthy man, such as a judge or perhaps a lawyer or doctor, must have dropped his watch into the well. An ordinary working man would not have been able to afford the gold watch, he said. There was no identification on the case.

He said he had hoped to find a couple of gold coins in the well debris, but evidently those getting a drink kept their money firmly in their pockets.


[photos by Jan Youngquist]

Although the well had a hand pump on a wooden platform when Werth was a boy, he believes that in Lincoln's time it would have been an open well with a winch and a bucket to lower into the water. The restoration, however, will have a wooden platform and a brand-new hand pump, a replica of the kind of pump that was used for so many years.

Other things about the restoration will be different, too. Although the well committee tried its hardest, there was no way they could pump safe drinking water from the well as it was. All tests showed the water was polluted.

"We tried everything possible," he said. "We tested and retested, we tried chlorinating it, everything."

The only way to make drinking from the well safe today is to use city water, he said. That means filling in the top of the well and hooking it up to the city water system.


The well will be sealed 8 feet down with pea gravel and lean concrete, then topped with sand, as directed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

"The state insisted it be filled in, one way or another," Werth said. "But it's still a piece of history."

The work to be done by Charles Jolly is hooking up the pump to the city water system, inserting a valve that will prevent any water from going back into the city's system.

After that is done, a new wooden platform and the replica of the old pump will be installed. Werth doesn't think the work will take long, once Jolly can get started.

Jolly has been "incredible help" in the well project and has never lost interest in it, Werth said. He also praised the VFW for their cooperation, as well as Alderman Bill Melton, chairman of the sewer committee.

Werth remembers that he and his brother once drank from the old well, sometime back in the 1950s.

[Joan Crabb]

Sesquicentennial schedule
and funding begin to firm up

[JAN. 17, 2003]  Two main-stage bands have been contracted for the Lincoln Sesquicentennial, dance lessons are available, and fund-raising efforts are paying off, organizers learned Wednesday night.

Set for the main stage on Broadway Street Friday, Aug. 29, is American English, with its energetic tribute to the Beatles. The Sesquicentennial Committee was wowed by the group's tape at an earlier meeting.

On Saturday, Aug. 30, the Creagles take over the Broadway stage. Get set to enjoy two special tributes, one to Credence Clearwater and the other to the Eagles.

A military band or symphony orchestra on Sunday, Aug. 31, will round out the closing weekend of the celebration. Greg Pelc, chair of the music and technical systems committees, expects to have several more stages in the downtown area and is talking to local and regional musicians to complete the roster of talent.

Also in the technical area, Kevin Franz is working to bring the celebration's website up to speed. Soon anyone who wants to know the plans for a particular day between Aug. 21 and 31 can visit lincolnillinois.org for the full scoop. Franz also announced plans for Tia Wind to photograph a video diary of Lincoln's 150th birthday party.

Knights of Columbus Grand Knight Tom Peifer presented a $5,000 check to Sesquicentennial treasurer Paul Short at Wednesday night's meeting. The money will go toward funding the performances of American English and the Creagles. The KCs will have the beer concession during the Friday and Saturday performances.


Other recent sponsors include Memorial Hospital and State Bank of Lincoln, each completing a $5,000 donation in December, and an anonymous donor of $10,000. Half the offering from the recent Community of Thanks concert held at Lincoln Community High School went toward the city's 150th birthday party as well. Short reported a balance of just under $10,000 before Wednesday's donations were received.

The schedule of activities is firming up. Though not technically part of the sesquicentennial, the Art and Balloon Festival, from Thursday, Aug. 21, to Sunday, Aug. 24, will get everyone in a celebratory mood. Also on Aug. 21, in the first sesquicentennial event, Clarice Boswell of Plainfield will speak in the courthouse on the use of quilts by the Underground Railroad. Her speech will set the stage for a Civil War and Underground Railroad quilt show in the courthouse rotunda Aug. 21-24. Another early event is an 1860s craft show planned for Saturday the 23rd on the Postville Courthouse lawn. Shirley Bartelmay, in charge of the show, said she is seeking diversified crafts.

Sunday, Aug. 24, is billed as Where It All Began Day and centers on the Postville area. At 5 p.m. the newly restored Abraham Lincoln Well will be dedicated. A $10,000 Member Initiative grant sponsored by former state Sen. Bob Madigan will fund the restoration.


After the dedication come the crowning of the Sesquicentennial queen and an ice cream social, both at Postville Park. Pat Geskey, queen committee chair, said girls ages 14-18 with Lincoln addresses are eligible. The winner will be the one who sells the most ice cream social tickets at $1 apiece. Sales start June 24. Siltennial (125th anniversary) queen Pamela Geskey Shattuck will crown the winner. Centennial queen Mary Buckles Roberts will also attend.

On Monday, Aug. 25, a panel of historians will speak at Lincoln College. Their topics are Lincoln the city and Lincoln the man. Panelists include state archivist Dr. Wayne Temple; Dr. Mark Plummer, history department chair at Illinois State University; and local historians Paul Beaver and Paul Gleason. Ron Keller, director of the Lincoln College Museum, will moderate.

Beaver and Gleason also plan to compose a chronology of significant events in the city since the centennial. In addition, reprints are planned of the Lincoln centennial book and Beaver's history of the Scully family.



[to top of second column in this article]

Tuesday, Aug. 26, will feature an 1860s baseball game between local sports standouts and the Ground Squirrels. Wednesday will see a re-enactment of the town christening near the train depot and a free watermelon feed at Latham Park. Food is also on the agenda for Thursday, with a community dinner and corn feed. Tuesday is dedicated to business and industry and Thursday to agriculture.

Friday, Aug. 29, is education day. The evening features the downtown area, with an ethnic festival in Scully Park and American English on the main stage providing Beatles-type music.

A morning parade on Saturday, Aug. 30, will move from old Postville to downtown Lincoln. Twelve Lincoln presenters from outside the county have inquired about participating in the parade, along with a couple of Mary Todds. Many bands are invited, and committee chairs Roger Matson and Don Vinson are seeking a band judge.

For the afternoon, specialty contest chair Charles Ott is planning contests for pigtails, beards and Lincoln look-alikes from Logan County. Ott also expects to print up cards which exempt the holder from growing a beard. Cost of such a card 50 years ago at the Lincoln centennial was $5. Those who opt for the beard instead become Brothers of the Brush. In 1953 a similar program for women, called Sisters of the Swish, required women who did not wear long skirts to buy an exemption card.

Re-enactment chair Ron Keller said the 33rd Infantry Civil War band is set to march in the parade and also provide music for a Civil War ball Saturday night. Dance lessons with Bonnie Knieriem of Mason City are being set up for those who want to be up on the Virginia reel and nine other period steps for the ball. Knieriem will offer instruction in six-lesson sequences, each lesson one to one and a half hours long. She welcomes all ages, with or without a partner, and says what she teaches is simple -- more like romping than dancing. Dances taught will include the grand march, waltz and patty-cake polka. Proper etiquette and attire for the occasion are also on the agenda.



Don't let the cold winter nights keep you at home...

2003 Technical Education Classes

Click here for more information

Anyone interested in joining a dance class should call Ron Keller at 732-3155, Ext. 295. Cost is in the range of $12-15 per person or $20-25 per couple for the six sessions. Keller is also working on a living history encampment and battle re-enactment.

Saturday night also features performances in the downtown area, with the Creagles on the main stage.

The birthday party concludes on Sunday with a chicken dinner followed by an interdenominational church service at 3 p.m. The Rev. Dr. David Hultberg of Sherman will preach from horseback as a circuit rider. Local clergy will participate in the service, and children's and adult choirs will provide music.

The day and week will end with a concert on and near the courthouse lawn. A symphony orchestra or military band is being sought. Organizers would like to top it all off with fireworks but because of the fire hazard may opt for a laser light show instead.

Speeches by dignitaries, other events and displays will round out the celebration. As an example, Layman Gallery at Lincoln College will showcase an Underground Railroad exhibit Aug. 16-Sept. 6. A black history display is also planned.

People are encouraged to get into the spirit of the sesquicentennial by donning period clothing. Patterns are available for those who would like to sew their own. Anyone wishing to purchase 1850s clothing from R & K Sutlery in Lincoln should place an order soon. The phone is 732-8844 and the website is www.sutlery.com.

[Lynn Spellman]


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.

[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 Wednesday-Sunday

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, nonprofit 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 Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 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.

Also visit www.heritageinflight.org.


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 | Calendar

Letters to the Editor