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Virtually unaltered since its completion more than a century ago, the 57 room Mansion, built in 1874, is an example of high artistic achievement in architecture and interior design, and the site of historic accomplishments in industry, philosophy, publishing and religion. National Historic Landmark.
Experience the history of the second of the famous debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. Its was at this site on August 27, 1858 that the Freeport Doctrine, an important statement regarding slavery and state's rights, was proclaimed by Douglas. Although Douglas won the Senatorial campaign for which the debate was held, his statements lost him the support of the South and split the Democratic Party. This enabled Lincoln to win the Presidency in 1860, thus precipitating the Civil War. The site is self-interpretive through a series of waysides that tell of the events and ideas which led up to the debates, and also includes a boulder and plaque dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, as well as the life-size statues "Lincoln and Douglas in Debate" by artist Lily Tolpo which was dedicated in 1992. The park-like setting is complete with benches, lighting, and spacious walks.
Foundation Forward, Inc., dedicated the Charters of Freedom monuments to the people of Morgan County on May 30, 2015. The monuments display the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights as they are displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Set in limestone with beautifully etched bronze plates, the monuments bring the experience of viewing our nation's most important documents to life.
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.
Located in Uptown Normal, the Normal Theater originally opened in 1937 and was the first movie theater in Bloomington-Normal built specifically for sound films. An Art Deco showplace built with streamline design, the Normal Theater has been completely restored to its original condition. It now operates as a film center, showing classic films on the big screen as well as independent and world cinema titles. In addition, the theater is used for a wide variety of non-film events and is available for rentals where assembly seating is required.
This CD-based audio tour presents President Lincoln as a returning visitor, talking about the places he visited and their meaning to him. Whether you drive the route or enjoy the tour from your favorite armchair, the audio tour is a special and novel way to learn about the history of Lincoln and the role Bloomington-Normal played in his life. The CD can be purchased at the McLean County Museum of History
John Binder, a local mob historian and author of "The Chicago Outfit", conducts the popular There Goes the Neighbor Hood tour. Running from early spring to late fall each year, the tour showcases local gangster history through Oak Park and River Forest with visits to 15 houses that were once occupied by major mobsters. Binder sprinkles in facts about the criminal careers of the former owners, unique features of each home, and rare information about the family's time spent there.The tour lasts approximately two hours and travels by minibus with no walking required. The tour departs from (and returns to) the Oak Park Visitor Center.
American taphouse serving flatbreads, burgers & pasta. Located in Downtown Bloomington in Abraham Lincoln's former law office.
The fascinating history of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts comes to life in the Behind the Curtain historic tour program. Led by a group of specially trained docents, you'll not only see the beautiful neo-Classical interior design of the BCPA, but also learn all about the many technical and patron service updates achieved in the building's significant renovation. You won't want to miss this surprising, fascinating, and fun-filled look at one of Bloomington's historic and most thriving buildings. Bring your stories, your questions, and, above all, your curiosity. Behind the Curtain tours are one hour in length and can accommodate a wide variety of group sizes.
Built in 1929, the Villa Park Historical Museum building originally served the community as the Villa Ave stop for the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin electric train line and an appliance store. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Today, it houses relics and artifacts from Villa Park's past including articles from the Ovaltine Factory which once operated in Villa Park and Sears Catalog Homes in the area.
A must-see attraction in Kewanee is the Woodland Palace at Francis Park, the first “green” home in Illinois. This unusual home was built way ahead of its time and is filled with engineering wonders. Learn about the quirky and eccentric man who built and lived in the home. Fred Francis was an artist, poet, inventor, builder, mathematician, engineer, and a naturist. Francis started to build the home in 1890 and worked on it for the next thirty-six years. It features hand-carved molding, a water purification system, and is the first house in the state of Illinois to have air-conditioning without the aid of electricity. View the sophisticated achievements of disappearing windows, doors, and more. Visit a home where everything seems to work in harmony. Woodland Palace is open seven days a week from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. April through October 1.
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!
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this restored mansion and grounds whisk visitors back to the Victorian era. Once home to Clinton attorney Clifton H. Moore, visitors will enjoy tours and stories of the friend and law partner of Abraham Lincoln who one resided there. Home of the DeWitt County Museum.
DeKalb County Convention & Visitors Bureau Books are available to assist you.
A cherished landmark in the heart of downtown Wheaton, The Little Popcorn Shop is perhaps one of the most loved and narrowest stores in the Chicagoland area measuring 49 inches wide by 60 feet long. The store’s small, quaint space is like walking into a Norman Rockwell painting. Popcorn is freshly popped, candy lines the wall, and locals greet each other warmly while welcoming newcomers to this very special place called The Little Popcorn Shop.
Built of native yellow limestome from 1839-1841, this was the site where Mormon leader, Joseph Smith Jr. and his brother were killed by an angry mob on June 27, 1844, resulting in the Mormons' famous trek west that led to the founding of Salt Lake City, UT.
This living memorial offers an insight into rural and farming life, with exhibits that include antique farm implements and a number of household items.
This impressive black granite piece located on the grounds of Vandalia's Tourist Information Center is a tribute to prairie farmers.
North Grove School, 3 miles northwest of Sycamore, was built in 1878 by the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church as a parochial and Sunday school. Pupils of diverse ethnic backgrounds learned their lessons in Swedish, even several years after the DeKalb County public school system purchased the school in 1880. The Sycamore unit district acquired the school in 1949, and it continued as a school until 1952, when it was closed. The North Grove community continued to lovingly maintain the building and used it as a neighborhood social center for many years. Classroom in School Upon the closing of North Grove School in 1952, all furnishings were removed. However many furnishings from old Sycamore schools were still in storage in the 1960s when the Natural Resource Center in Genoa began using the site for special education programs. The school was refurbished and re-supplied using these furnishings, with additional period pieces being donated by private citizens. In 1970 North Grove School at 26745 Brickville Road (Map) was listed in the Illinois Directory of Historical Buildings. On May 24, 2012 the United States Department of the Interior placed the school and its outbuildings on the National Register of Historical Places. Today the school is still owned by the Sycamore School District but is leased to and lovingly cared for by the North Grove School Association, whose goal is to preserve this educational icon for future generations.
Although the Sycamore Public Library did not open its doors until 1892, we can trace its roots back to 1875 when a Chautauqua Scientific Circle was formed in Sycamore. Once members had completed the course, they established the Athena Literary Society in order to form a public library. Over the course of three years they raised $700 and asked city council to appropriate money for books and that the mayor appoint a board of directors. On July 12, 1892, the Sycamore Public Library opened in Hoyt and Rogers’ Store, second floor, in the backroom. This building now is occupied by Marlyn’s Majorettes. The City Council appropriated $800 to purchase books. The Athena Literary Society assisted with funding the library for the first two years. Miss Flora Jeannette Dow, a member of Athena, was the first librarian. In 1902, Andrew Carnegie offered the City of Sycamore $10,000 for the construction of a library, provided an acceptable site could be secured and that the Sycamore City Council would annually appropriate at least 10% of his donation for maintaining the building. Mr. Frederick B. Townsend donated the property where the library stands today. Miss Dow received the honor of placing the first trowel of mortar on the cornerstone on May 24, 1905. Over the next 90 years, several renovation and remodeling projects took place and then on October 14, 1995, a new era of growth began with the groundbreaking ceremony for the library expansion. Today we are looking at ways to serve the community’s needs by providing the best possible services and programs available.
The Warrenville Museum is located in an 1858 Greek Revival Methodist Church that was later used as an art studio by Adam Albright and his sons, Ivan and Malvin. Exhibits include art, featuring works by the Albrights, and local history.
Visit the Victorian home where Nobel Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899 and spent his early life.
This turn-of-the-century Victorian house was ordered through the Sears Roebuck catalog and assembled for only several hundred dollars.
An icon of days past, this one-room schoolhouse has been restored by the Emden Historical Society.
This beautifully restored home has cobalt blue windows. Tours by appointment and open for special events.
The Mansion is the restored home of Quincy's founder and the twelfth Governor of Illinois. It's one of the Midwest's finest existing examples of Greek Revival architecture. Also on the grounds are the History Museum & Visitor's Center houses a gift shop (Quincy's History Shop) & The Lincoln Gallery.
This museum is located in a beautiful brick building that is a renovated 1914 school located in the "Old Town" section of the Village. The museum has old dolls, weapons, pictures, and much more.
Built in 1895, the red brick for the building came from the Lincoln Coal Company. A unique telephone booth on the roof was added later and was used by weather spotters to phone in sighted storms. Lincoln City Hall anchors the downtown National Historic Registered District and is one of the city's most visible symbols.
This library is located in the town's old jailhouse, and still features the original cells. Feel free to take a book and curl up in your favorite cell.
Illinois’ only fully restored wooden grain elevator listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An outdoor, self-guided interpretive tour allows visitors to experience the Elevator Museum anytime. Open June, July and August: Sundays 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., call ahead.
The cemetery is the eternal home of Timothy Webster, a Civil War spy.
Pleasant Home is an architectural gem that showcases 19th century craftsmanship and artistry. Designed in 1897 by prominent architect George W. Maher, the home is a National Historic Landmark and the only Maher building open to the public as a museum. You and your guests will be surrounded by rich custom woodwork, extraordinary art glass windows, intricate woodcarvings, and the glowing warmth of light from another era. The Pleasant Home's 1st floor includes of the Great Hall, Living and Dining Rooms and enclosed circular porch. The front porch is a great addition to the 1st floor during warmer weather. It is perfect for wedding ceremonies, smaller banquets or cocktail parties. The Library is slightly off the beaten path, but is a great place for a buffet station for a cocktail reception. It is also perfect for small lectures of meetings that do not require the use of the whole house.
This historic home is furnished with memorabilia from the early days of Montgomery County, and is open by appointment.
Founded in 1882, the Chicago Stock Exchange boasts more than 3,000 stocks traded, with an average trading volume of 13 million daily. View the second-largest stock exchange in the country from the fifth-floor Visitors Gallery.
View the farm grave and marker for Kay, the beloved Carson & Barnes Circus elephant who died on October 21, 1994. Kay is only the second elephant to be buried in Illinois.
Explore the heart of America! Follow the Mississippi River as it winds its way along Illinois' western border from Galena to Cairo. Experience over 550 miles of small towns, big cities, historic sites, recreational areas, cultural attractions and museums. Follow the green and white paddle wheel signs as they guide your next adventure!
See displays of early life in this German Catholic community, founded in 1838. The first Franciscans arrived in October 1858, and the three priests and six brothers quickly set about building a parish and friary.
The historic flight of the Vin Fiz was the first air crossing over the United States. A marker located at the Dunlap House indicates the spot where the small airplane landed in Middletown on October 9,1911.
Located on East Broadway in Johnston City, this memorial wall contains the names of local fallen heroes. A Memorial Day celebration is held in this location every year.
This replica of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall in Washington is 80% the size of the original. The wall features the names of soldiers who were killed or missing in action between 1955-1975, the time period of the Vietnam War.
Generations of soldiers who sacrificed their lives for their country are honored.
1850 limestone Greek Revival home restored, developed as preservation study house. June-August, Tues. 1-4pm. Other hours, groups by appointment.
Amidst the untamed beauty of the Illinois prairie sprang the elegance and grace of the Duncan Mansion. The home of Governor Joseph Duncan is the only existing structure that served as the Governor's Mansion outside of Springfield. Open Memorial Day to Labor Day, Wednesday & Saturday 1 to 4 p.m. Suggested donation of $4 for adults and $2 for children.
This 80-year-old Indiana limestone building was constructed as a memorial to the members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon who fought and died in our nation's wars, and contains some of the last stained-glass works of Louis C. Tiffany.
This international marketplace enables institutions and businesses to manage their financial risk and allocate their assets. Futures and options contracts are traded on the Mercantile's two state-of-the-art trading floors.
Housed in the gracious historic mansion of former U.S. Vice President Charles Gates Dawes, this stunning chateau overlooks Lake Michigan. Visitors and history buffs explore this National Historic Landmark appreciating its original furnishings and artwork. The home features exhibits focusing on the history of Evanston.
The Nauvoo Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was recently rebuilt in Nauvoo, one of the early settlements of the Mormon people. The structure is 150 feet tall and overlooks the Mississippi River. The temple was reconstructed on the site of the original temple which was built from 1841-1846, but later destroyed by arson after the Mormons left Nauvoo. Sacred ordinances are performed daily in the Nauvoo Temple, therefore the building is not available for tourist visits. The beautiful gardens and grounds are open to the public, located just north of the temple. The temple Information Cernter presents a free 14-minute virtual tour.
Located in Harrer Park, this 1888 Victorian farmhouse features period furnishings and a museum on its lower level with rotating displays.
Celebrate the 171st anniversary of the Bishop Hill Colony and the 121st year of the Old Settler’s Association. Enjoy a traditional chicken dinner, the High Society Band Concert and program featuring Bishop Hill Colony descendants’ speakers. Sunday a reunion of students and teachers from the Bishop Hill Colony School takes place and memories are shared. Hours: 11:30 am to 3 pm.
Original log buildings in this educational village are from Illinois' early prairie years.
Vandalia, Illinois is where Abraham Lincoln began his historical political career and his life and achievements are commemorated on the marker.
DuPage County, Chicago’s Western Suburbs - Victorian, red-bricked house displays collections typical of the 1920s through 1940s in authentic lifestyle settings. Open Wednesdays and Sundays.
The Madonna is one of 12 statues in the U.S. that honors the pioneer women who traveled along the National Road.
The Milan Township District #83 Schoolhouse served as a center for learning from the turn of the century until 1942. In 1942, it was closed and left to deteriorate. However, the schoolhouse was given a new lease on life when it was donated to the Blackwell History of Education Museum in 1996 and then rebuilt on the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. Since 1999, the Milan Schoolhouse has been available to teachers at elementary and middle schools for re-enactment of a typical day in a one-room schoolhouse, professors at NIU and other institutions, and teachers at high schools for classes, other events, and families and organizations for various activities. We wish to thank Dr. Eui-Kyung Shin, assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, for her guidance of Rebecca Edwards in the development of this curriculum.A Blackwell Museum staff member has created lesson plans for students in 1st through 8th grade that allow them to experience a school day in the early 1900s, depending on the teacher's preference. The one room school is currently unavailable for visits, but we hope to have it open again in the Spring of 2014. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at email@example.com.
Once known as the local "calaboose", the Brussels Jail was built around 1876 and centered in the heart of the village. The jail mainly housed men overnight for drinking too much and the last person to stay in the jail was in 1952. The jail is open seven days a week.
This restored 1882 opera house, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is home to Pandora's Playhouse community theater.
Explore rare architecture in this historic district, made up of 667 homes, that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Don't miss the house walk in September.
Surrounded by shops and restaurants on the square, the 19th-century courthouse offers a great view of the town's hundreds of flower and fruit trees in season.
Within historic Gramercy Park lies 26 ancient Hopewell Indian Mounds, an archaeological treasure. It affords a superlative view of the Mississippi.
The founding of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity, the first women's sorority, took place at Holt House, which is open for tours. It was in Ada and Libbie’s bedroom at the Holt home that I.C. Sororities came to life.
Built in the popular Romanesque style, Chicago's oldest railroad station is now a retail shopping mall and an urban neighborhood marketplace. It is also a National Historic Landmark.
This four-story, reconstructed 1847 grist mill features a four-ton waterwheel and displays of 1800s milling equipment.
The Heart Theatre is located across the street from the Effingham County Courthouse. The theatre is one of the two examples in Effingham of the Art Deco style that was popular from 1920 to 1940.
Tour the oldest remaining structure in the village. The home was originally owned by Montgomery’s founder, Daniel Gray. A museum offers an educational history of the Village of Montgomery. Open 2nd Tuesday and 3rd Sunday of each month, 12:30-2:30 p.m. May-October.
This elegant 1893 brick and stone building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Bronze markers give biographical information about prominent citizens from the earliest history of the community. Every fall, volunteers in period dress "resurrect" their ancestors and tell their stories during an annual cemetery walk.
The cemetery was created when graves were moved from Kaskaskia Island in the 1890s after a flood. According to one account, 3,000 boxes were moved, some containing entire families.
This privately owned museum houses forty-two John Deere farm implements manufactured in the late 1920's through 1940. Showcased is a 1936 Model B John Deere Tractor, fully restored. The Ag Museum also features an antique horse equipment collection and period farm house furnishings, as well as equipment and hand tools found on a 1930's farmstead. All free of charge, open by appointment, located on the northern edge of Quincy.
This beautiful, historic 1865 mansion was once owned by the Halliday Family, and is now owned by the City of Cairo and open for tours.
This monument honors William "Tutty" Baker, the founder of Freeport. Tutty came to this area, which was home to the Winnebago Indians, in 1835 and built a trading post along the banks of the Pecatonica River, offering travelers free ferry rides.
View 40 acres of restored prairie grass and a Native American grass lodge.
The memorial is located next to the Heritage Museum downtown. It features plaques citing the names of WWI and WWII Veterans on one side and other wars featured on the opposite side. In a fitting tribute, the Veterans Memorial in downtown Carterville was dedicated on 11-11-11, Veterans Day.
This auditorium opened on August 23, 1914, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Travel back in time with us to the Village of Elsah. The entire village of Elsah is on the National Registry of Historic Places. This village, with a population of around one hundred people, is often referred to as the "village where time stood still." Visitors to Elsah can escape back to the Americana of the early 1800s with quiet streets and 19th century stone homes. This “picture perfect” village nestled in the valley is a perfect place for photographers – amateur and professional – anxious to capture a glimpse of the past.
Tour this centennial barn, one of the largest in the country and one of forty-two left in the State of Illinois. It stands 80 feet high and 85 feet in diameter and features a 16-foot diameter floor to ceiling silo. A farm implement museum in on the main floor. Tours are provided by Friends of Johnson’s Park Foundation and groups of ten or more asked to call ahead. Open the first, third, and fifth Saturday beginning May through October. Hours: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Registered as a National Historic District in May 1975. 54 historic residences are located here. Some homes date to early 1850's, most are early 20th-Century. Homes are private residences and are not open to the public.
The monument is a tribute to Swiss poet Heinrich Bosshard, who wrote Semparcherlied here in the 1850s.
The grave site of Ann Rutledge, Abraham Lincoln's first sweetheart, is located at Oakland Cemetery. Her tombstone bears an inscription written by poet Edgar Lee Masters, who is burried nearby.
Spanning the entire Fox River, features include the circa 1930 “Memory” and “Victory” statues in honor of fallen soldiers from World War I. In 1930, Chicago sculptor Emory P. Seidel designed the original plans for the bridge. As a period publication stated, using an artist made the bridge “remarkable in its beauty and unique in its design."
This self-guided audio tour takes you through one of the "Prettiest Painted Places in America," the Ridgeland Historic District, to view great architecture and hear stories of famous Oak Lawn natives.
The entire 150-year-old German settlement is on the National Historic Register. Restoration includes a church from 1867, a one-lane stone arched bridge, Corner George Inn, general store, sweet shops, museum, and a visitor's center.
This memorial commemorates the 1834 settlement at Norway, the first permanent Norwegian settlement in the Midwest. The monument was dedicated as part of a 1934 centennial celebration.
The museum gift shop is located at the rear entrance of the Taylor Mansion. It offers unique gifts including reproduction toys and games, pretzel-themed gift items, Rawleigh products, books of historical and local interest and more
One of only three National Historic Sites in Illinois, the Chicago Portage site is a major remnant of the discovery and settlement of Chicago. The Chicago Portage National Historic Site is located in Portage Woods Forest Preserve and Ottawa Trail Woods Forest Preserve. This is the only place where you can stand on the same ground walked upon by the explorers, early settlers and creators of Chicago. You can stand on the footbridge over the short remnant of Portage Creek, stretch out your arms and know that Jolliet, Marquette, LaSalle, Tonti, Point du Sable, Kinzie, Hubbard, Ogden, and countless anonymous others from the discovery, exploration and creation of Chicago passed within an arm's length of you.
Constructed in 1857, Mann's Chapel is the oldest standing church in Vermilion County. The chapel is now part of the Vermilion County Museum Complex and can be rented for special occasions with seating for 125-150 available.
The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition has produced many Interpretive Murals along the Illinois Lincoln Highway National Scenic Byway and its corridor in northern Illinois. The DeKalb mural depicts the history, heritage, and events of the highway and its impact on DeKalb and the other communities along the Illinois route.
Built in 1908, this National Register Property is one of Illinois’ few octagonal-shaped public libraries. Its gilded rotunda and interior rooms, filled with solid-oak woodwork, reflect its classic architecture. Local volunteers who comprise the “Keepers of the Clock” take turns on a weekly basis hand-winding the 1909 Seth Thomas clock housed in the library’s clock tower.
Home of the Chicago Tribune newspaper offices, this Gothic-Revival landmark features flying buttresses and gargoyles This is a result of New York architects John Mead Howells and Raymond M. Hood's design that was chosen as a winner out of 263 entries from twenty-three countries during an international architectural competition to immodestly "erect the most beautiful building in the world" in 1922.
Established in 1907 by a group of Russian immigrants who lived and labored in Beneld, the group built homes and raised their families while adding their customs to the area's ever-mixing cultures.
This residential district includes original Freeport and the city's first street, Monterey, and was later known as the "Gold Coast". Points of interest include Freeport's oldest house (built in 1838), the childhood home of famed Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons, a monument honoring Freeport's founder, William "Tutty" Baker, and the Van Buren Bridge, built in 1885 of wrought iron.
The site preserves surviving portions of the industrial complex developed in the early 1880s by George M. Pullman to build luxury railroad passenger cars. The plant was the centerpiece of a company-owned town planned under Pullman's direction.
Guided tours (by reservation only) of Ragdale, a nationally renowned artists' community built by noted architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, include a walk through the historic house and gardens as well as a studio visit with an artist-in-residence.
The Mother Jones Monument, located in the Union Miners Cemetery, honors the crusader for coal miners' rights.
(TEMPORARILY CLOSED beginning 10/08 except for special events.) This site preserves what is left of the old fort-one of the first built on the Mississipi River. A scenic overlook offers views of the Mississippi and Kaskaskia Rivers, and of Old Kaskaskia.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this home is a great place to watch the river traffic go by. Open by appointment for breakfast, teas, luncheons, receptions and weddings.
The LaSalle Street Financial Corridor is one of the most visually stunning districts in the city. A long canyon of buildings, unlike any other area of Chicago, terminates at the Chicago Board of Trade Building, the 1930 Art Deco masterpiece by Holabird & Root. A sparkling, stainless-steel sculpture of Ceres, the goddess of grain, by John Storrs (1885-1956) caps the composition, visually focusing this whirling financial district on the commodity that enabled so much of Chicago’s growth. The Board of Trade was named a Chicago Landmark in 1977 and listed to the National Register in 1978. Copy and descriptions courtesy of AIA Illinois and the 150 Great Places in Illinois www.illinoisgreatplaces.com