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Built in 1833, Alton houses Illinois' first state penitentiary. During the Civil War, the facility imprisoned thousands of Confederate soldiers. Partial remains of the structure can still be observed today.
This monument remembers those who died in the infamous Alton prison. A smallpox virus spread rapidly through the Alton Prison in 1863, killing more than 1,435 incarcerated soldiers. The soldiers are laid to rest here and each of their names is commemorated at the Memorial. The Alton Prison and Confederate Cemetery are some of the rare northernmost monuments to the Confederate Soldier.
Walk in the footsteps of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and Civil War soldiers from both North and South. Experience the life of young Lincoln as a lawyer, duelist and orator. It was here that the final Lincoln-Douglas Debate took place, with the issue of slavery on the minds of spectators. It was here that Confederate soldiers were held captive, died and were buried. It was here that Alton resident and U.S. Senator Lyman Trumbull authored the 13th Amendment, putting an end to slavery in the United States. Experience the 11 historic sites interpreted along the Lincoln & Civil War Legacy Trail.
In the early 1800s, Alton became a safe haven for slaves escaping from the bonds of slavery. Because of the area's neighboring slave state of Missouri, runaways found refuge in the free land surrounding Alton. The tunnels of the Underground Railroad run deep beneath the streets along the "Alton Route." The area was a major stop along the Underground Railroad, hiding slaves in caves, barns and basements throughout Alton, Otterville and Jerseyville. Hear the slave's tales, feel their fear and learn about Alton's remarkable past on an Underground Railroad Tour. Tours available by appointment only.
Built in 1878, this structure was originally built as a monument to Aurora's Civil War Veterans. The building is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has more than 2,500 artifacts, photographs, scrapbooks, medals, flags and items dating from the Civil War through the Vietnam War. This historic treasure is now open for public viewing on an initial limited basis. Self-guided public tours available Saturdays 12 noon to 4 pm and 6 - 8 pm during each First Friday event through November. Group tours (by appointment only) Wednesdays through Fridays. Tours free and open to the public. For information 630-256-INFO. Watch a quick virtual preview and then come visit in person. See the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall, Post 20: Virtual Museum and Research Center at https://www.aurora-il.org/gar/virtual_exhibit.php.
The main source for information about McLean County’s historic and modern attractions in the Bloomington-Normal area is the "Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66" Visitors Center. Located in Downtown Bloomington, the Visitors Center provides information on all of the wonderful attractions, events, dining and lodging available in McLean County. Their exhibits highlight two types of heritage tourism that is integral to Central Illinois: Historic Route 66 and Abraham Lincoln. The gift shop is filled with local products, memorabilia and more!
The Byron Museum Complex consists of a large Exhibit Hall and the historic Lucius Read House, which was on the Underground Railroad and is a listed site on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. The Read House features a permanent exhibit entitled, ‘From Shackles to Freedom: The Underground Railroad’ which shines a spotlight on Byron’s participation in the Underground Railroad. We are happy to accommodate group tours outside regular hours. Tours are free and are self-guided or a docent can be arranged. We also have ample meeting space available.
Named after Civil War General John A. Logan, the college combines modern architecture and a beautiful park-like setting. Memorabilia of General Logan and his wife, Mary, are on display in the museum and art gallery at the college.
The majority of this large collection of historic artifacts was donated by Dr. Alice Kibbe. The collection now includes Civil War and Indian artifacts, fashion items dating from 1840 to 1920, fossils, rocks, and geodes, and other historic artifacts from around Hancock County.
This cemetery is the final resting place for many Civil War veterans, as well as Thomas and Sarah Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln's father and stepmother.
Painted in the 1930s on the upper interior wall of Chester's post office, this fascinating mural depicts pre-Civil War riverboat activity on the Mississippi River.
The Vermilion County Museum was built as a replica of the 1833 county courthouse where President Abraham Lincoln practiced law from 1841-1859. Exhibits include the Lincoln Law Office in Danville, a schoolhouse, coal mine shaft and more.
The Vermilion County War Museum, housed in a former Carnegie Library, contains over 25,000 artifacts and memorabilia ranging from the Revolutionary War to Operation Iraqi Freedom. The museum enjoys a steady stream of both U.S. and foreign visitors who appreciate the ever-increasing collections of artifacts and research materials.
The 1840s Lamon House is believed to be the oldest framed residence in the Danville Area. The home was constructed by Joseph Lamon, cousin of Ward Hill Lamon, President Abraham Lincoln's law partner and presidential bodyguard. The Lamon House is open Sundays, 1:30 - 4:30 PM, throughout the summer and by appointment.
Built in 1874, this Italianate mansion was the home of Richard J. Oglesby, a U.S. senator and three-time governor of Illinois. Oglesby was also a Union general in the Civil War and a close friend of Abraham Lincoln.
The Civil War Soldiers Monument, on the southwest corner of the Stephenson County Courthouse, is inscribed with the names of those soldiers from Stephenson County who lost their lives in the Civil War. On the southeast corner is the Stephenson County Vietnam Era Veterans Memorial, which is a bronze statue of a full-sized M-16 with a bayonet stuck in the ground and a helmet on top.
This Italianate home was presented to U.S. Grant in 1865 and opened to the public in 1904. Furnishings original.
Tucked away in the rolling hills of Germantown is a Civil War Fort. There is a jail, civil war cannons, a stage coach, a livery, log cabins, and much more.
This original 1844 building was once a stagecoach stop, tavern, post office, town hall and candy store. Completely restored by the Village of Gurnee, this historical home is reported to have been part of the Underground Railroad.
Visit Underground Railroad sites such as Woodlawn Farm, as well as Jacksonville-area homes that were part of the Railroad.
Historic museum located inside of a national registered church built during the Civil War. We offer exhibits, tours and the "old stone church" chapel is available for rental of weddings and special occasion ceremonies.
The cemetery is the eternal home of Timothy Webster, a Civil War spy.
The Dr. Richard Eells House was a stopping point on the Underground Railroad in the 1840s, and is the oldest standing two-story brick home in Quincy.
Dedicated in 1903 in ceremonies that included a speech by Teddy Roosevelt, Memorial Hall is a tribute to Rockford citizens who have served in the Armed Forces. Large wall plaques list names of fallen veterans, and cases in the main lobby, side rooms and the lower level display Armed Services artifacts including memories of the Civil War, the World Wars and Camp Grant. The renovated second floor auditorium is used by cultural groups for shows and presentations and is accessible via the elevator.