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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the proud home of one of the largest and richest public research library collections in North America. Their 24 million items, the vast majority of which are paper and book-based, include Medieval manuscripts, large collections of incunabula and early printed books, literary manuscripts, maps and atlases, prints, and all sizes and types of printed books and other paper objects. The University Library is committed to sustaining and enhancing its capacity to treat and protect its important paper-based collections, with the majority of conservation and preservation-related investments focused on the care of its rare, unique, and otherwise valuable objects.
This memorial commemorates Lincoln's 1832 service in the Black Hawk War, and consists of a bronze figure of Lincoln as a 23-year-old captain. The statue was dedicated in 1930 during the centennial celebration of the town of Dixon.
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.
Board a genuine open-air antique fire truck and take a tour that focuses on the Chicago FIre, and stops at two Chicago fire stations. Reservations required.
This private residence was once a historic inn where a group of counterfeiters met to hatch a plot to steal Abraham Lincoln's body from his tomb in Springfield. Walk up to view the marker only.
The world's only statue of Abe Lincoln and a pig commemorates Lincoln's bemused request for a "writ of quietus" to calm noisy pigs gathered under the courthouse floor. "The Last Stop" refers to the location on the old 8th Judicial Circuit.
Surrounded by gardens and a reflection pool, this magnificent bell tower in Washington Park is the third largest in the world, and one of the few that is actually open to the public.
Soaring nearly 200 feet into the Midwestern sky, the Cross is a landmark for the more than 19 million travelers who pass through Effingham each year along Interstates 57 and 70. Other features of the site include a visitor center, chapel and a 10 Commandments display.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this chapel was built in 1918 with a donation from former Marion mayor Leroy Goddard. It is still used for weddings and other events, this chapel is one of the beautiful historic places to see in Williamson County.
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.
Adlai Stevenson II was an important and influential figure in the political history of the United States. Stevenson was Governor of Illinois from 1949 to 1953 and ran twice for President as the Democratic National Candidate in 1952 and 1956. He also served as Ambassador to the United Nations from 1961 - 1965. The grounds are open daily for self-guided tours. The peaceful setting allows visitors to experience the historic landscape similar to when the family lived in the house. The house has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Group tours can be arranged through the Forest Preserves - 847-968-3422.
A kinetic water sculpture fountain sculpted by internationally acclaimed artist Christian Tobin Isaac(squared) brings Aurora the most mysterious essence of both science and art. Here the hydrostatic force of water unleashing the kinetic energy of stone creates a work of compelling vitality inviting us to look and linger, talk and even dream. These four massive granite obelisks - 12 feet in height, weighing 4000 pounds each- feature top-stone segments, rhythmically rocking and swiveling, balanced on cushions of water. Each time a top-stone centers itself on the middle of its tower and is restored to equilibrium, the power of gravity is once more proclaimed: each turn of a stone replying to the center of the earth. The elemental effect of the force of water through each of these commanding rock pillars cascading onto the pedestrian walk below brings us together with the laws of nature and the transformational power of art.
The site marker describes how Abraham Lincoln once owned this lot, after it was deeded to him in recompense for a large debt.
The town of Sterling features 10 colorful murals in its downtown area that depict the history of the community.
Joseph Farwell Glidden's invention of one of the most widely-used types of barbed wire in 1873 helped change the history of the American West and had far-reaching impact throughout the world. His Homestead, a Victorian Mansion, in DeKalb, IL, is being preserved and restored by a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995. Both the home and the barn are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We welcome your visit and encourage your membership!
See the local Historical Society's authentic preservation of an 1800s school and town jail. Tours by appointment.
In the late eighteen hundreds there were many thriving communities that were totally dependent on area coal mines. Now there is a Memorial to honor all miners. Dedicated on October 14th, 2000, the Coal Miners Memorial is a tribute to all Southern Illinois coal miners of the past century. The inscription at the base of the statue reads, “In memory of coal miners who gave so much that future generations may benefit with a better life. They labored, served their country, sacrificed for their families and some lost their lives. We honor and salute them so that they will never be forgotten.”
Mattoon Tourism & Arts Welcome Center is located in the historic Illinois Central Railroad Train Depot, which also still serves as the Amtrak Station for the Community. The original Railroad Depot was constructed in 1918 by the Illinois Central Railroad, and it was then remodeled in 2011. The Depot is still an active Amtrak Station with 3,000 passengers boarding and un-boarding per month. The welcome center offers a host of information: state-of-the-art schools & colleges, a growing economy, beautiful parks, lakes and sports amenities round out the more favorable quality of life found in Mattoon.
The lighthouse is located at the west entrance to the city-owned Dorothy Miller Park in Metropolis, Illinois overlooking the Ohio River. The lighthouse stands thirty feet tall and is surrounded by a circular walkway consisting of concrete and personalized bricks.
The John Wood Mansion is the restored home of Quincy's founder and the 12th governor of Illinois. The 1835 Pioneer Log Cabin is preserved authentically, and the Parsonage displays items depicting the history of Adams County.
Here you can explore the French involvement in the history of the Kankakee River Valley-the first explorers and missionaries; the coureurs de bois and fur traders and the pioneer settlers from France, French Canada, and Belgium.
As the centerpiece of downtown Batavia, the Riverwalk extends along the Depot Pond and Fox River to a north point pavilion, where grand views of the Fox River are available.
The residence of the founder of the City of Zion, Dr. John Alexander Dowie, is a stately 23-room mansion that was built in 1901-02 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Take a self-guided walking tour through Mt. Carroll's historic district, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Return to Rt. 66, circa 1947, when you overnight at The Colaw Rooming House. Where you'll experience travel on the Mother Road before Interstates and motel chains were the norm. Located just 2 blocks from Rt. 66 in quaint Atlanta, Illinois, The Colaw Rooming House offers three bedrooms, two full baths, a charming living room with fireplace, dinning room, curved front porch, and delightful yellow and red 1940's kitchen. To further enhance your step back in time, your stay includes a complimentary breakfast at The Palms Grill Cafe-Atlanta's fully restored, circa 1935 small town diner. For more information please visit our website www.thecolawhouse.com
An authentic, five-story (68 feet) working Dutch windmill located on the Fox River Trail. Built in the 1850's by two German craftsmen and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Volunteer millers serve as docents on the weekends. The Fabyan Windmill is open weekends, May 15 – October 15, from 1-4 p.m. Private tours are also available by appointment.
The Embarras River, near Greenup, was the site of a covered bridge built by Abe and Thomas Lincoln and Dennis Hanks. The original bridge was 200 feet long. The reconstructed bridge was dedicated in 2000.
Located on a high mound overlooking the prairie, this cemetery is home of the famous Lincoln the Orator statue by artist J. Mulligan and the Lincoln-commissioned cannon called Mary Lincoln.
Master architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe created the ultimate minimalist masterpiece, the Farnsworth House, in pastoral Plano. The stellar structure of floor-to-ceiling glass seemingly "floats" above the rambling Fox River. TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Winner 2015! Moonlight Tours: Experience Farnsworth House as the sun sets in the west. Evening tours are back by popular demand, occurring one Friday and Saturday a month from May to October. Tours begin at dusk. For more information and to book this exclusive tour, see our Moonlight Tours page of their web site.
A landmark in Lockport and along the I&M Canal since 1838, The Gaylord Building connects visitors to America's forgotten Canal Era. Come tour the site and enjoy fine dining in the Public Landing Restaurant. Then stroll or bike ride along the scenic canal trail or explore Lockport's National Register Historic District. Monday - Saturday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM and Sunday 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Special group tours by appointment. The Gaylord Building is a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation (www.preservationnation.org). The Gaylord Building played a vital role in one of the great enterprises of the 19th century: the Illinois & Michigan Canal. In this handsome limestone warehouse visitors will discover exhibitions illustrating the unique heritage of the site and the Canal Corridor. A landmark in Lockport and along the I&M Canal since 1838, The Gaylord Building connects visitors to America's forgotten Canal Era. Come tour the site and enjoy fine dining in the Public Landing Restaurant. Then stroll or bike ride along the scenic canal trail or explore Lockport's National Register Historic District. Special group tours by appointment. The Gaylord building is a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation (www.preservationnation.org). Monday - Saturday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM and Sunday 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
This mural honors the late Fey Orr, a prominent local businessman and philanthropist. The mural is painted on the Chebanse Grain & Lumber Co. building, and depicts the people and lifestyle of Beaverville.
This museum features four floors of county-wide historical items and displays.
The Windmill was built in 1896 to supply water for the Oughton estate and grounds, which later became home of the Keeley Institute, an alcohol rehab center.
Built in 1903, the auditorium is the largest building of its kind anywhere in the world, and is included on the National Register of Historic Places. Above the stage are Grecian statues designed by Robert Root.
Built in 1878 and restored in 1986, the Opera House today provides performing arts from classical to country, dance, student recitals, summer theatre workshops and children/senior citizen series. A new Elizabeth Holdeman visual art gallery now graces entrance hall.
This 1840s farmhouse features reproductions of Sheldon Peck's folk paintings, exhibits on the area's first school, the underground railroad, farming and pioneer life.
Built in 1857, this church is a fine example of Carpenter Gothic Architecture. Pointed arched windows and doors as well as board and batten frame construction characterize this style. King Edward VII worshipped at the church in 1860, while on a hunting expedition in the area. The church was named as one of the “150 Architectural Treasures” in the State of Illinois by the Association of Illinois Architects in 2007, and is listed on the National Historic Register.
Home of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity headquarters, this beautiful Gothic building features stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
This nine-ton cannon, used in WW II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, stands alongside Veterans Parkway in honor of the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces.
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
Built in 1856, this Italianate building is home of the Aurora Historical Society and where you’ll find historic photos, books, documents and maps covering Aurora’s history from the 1830s to now. Tours of fully furnished home & exhibits offered by appointment. Season tours begin on Sun., April 10 and will be offered at 1, 2 and 3 pm every Wed. and Sun. through Sept. 28. They will be closed on July 3 to prepare for Independence Day. Tours are free; donations appreciated.
Completed in 1885, the church has a 150' spire and neo-Gothic architecture. Only ten Catholic churches in the U.S. have a saint’s body, and Corpus Christi houses the holy relic of St. Crescent, taken out of the catacombs in Rome in 1838.
First stop of the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trusts' River Forest Walking Tour.
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.
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
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.
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.
The Glen Rowan House is the perfect setting for weddings, social parties, private, and corporate events. An estate on the North Shore designed by renowned architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, this significant landmark is named for its impressive rowan oak trees and is a part of the Lake Forest College campus.
The Winnetka Community House enriches the lives of the North Shore residents, their families, visitors and friends by providing diverse educational, cultural, social and recreational opportunities for people of all ages.
Plan to visit this information center in the Historic Water Tower building and receive brochures featuring attractions and special events. Friendly information representatives will answer your questions and assist in planning an itinerary.
The world-renowned Lyric Opera of Chicago performs in one of North America's most beautiful opera houses, the Civic Opera House. The decorative character of the entire building is a hybrid of Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. Comedy-tragedy masks and cornucopia of instruments abound as playful ornaments around entrances, inspired by the Paris Opera House designed by Jean-Louis-Charles Garnier. The famous painted fire curtain (depicting the parade scene from Aida) and the interior decoration details of the Civic Opera House were created by American artist Jules Guerin in a palette of salmon pinks, roses, olives, golds and bronzes.
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.
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.
A nicely renovated space (opened in early 1996 and converted from a 1912 nickelodeon), this comfortable theater offers excellent sight lines and adequate acoustics. The Mercury is located in Chicago’s vibrant Southport Corridor, the stretch of Southport Avenue between Belmont to the south and Irving Park Road to the north. A popular neighborhood for shopping and nightlife, the Corridor is home to a diverse range of restaurants, cozy pubs, and eclectic boutiques. Neighboring Wrigleyville is home to Chicago’s most popular sports bars, and of course, Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.
This 160-year old home has three rooms of original furniture, pictures and personal items once owned by politician William Jennings Bryan.
Nestled among fragrant pines and sumptuous flower gardens stands the Chapel in the Pines, a charming Victorian-style country church.
Experience the history of Elgin, from the Elgin Watch Factory to the first settlers. Everyone will walk out with a better understanding off Elgin's history.
Vandalia, Illinois is where Abraham Lincoln began his historical political career and his life and achievements are commemorated on the marker.
This restored 1882 opera house, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is home to Pandora's Playhouse community theater.
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.
Original log buildings in this educational village are from Illinois' early prairie years.
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.
Barn quilts of DeWitt County is a project designed to celebrate Clinton and DeWitt County’s rich agricultural history, showcase our rural areas, promote agritourism, the arts, and create a sense of community pride. Throughout the county, vibrant, hand-painted 8’X8’ quilt blocks on ‘wooden canvases’ adorn numerous barns, making a drive through the countryside all the more enjoyable. Barn quilts are on display June through August.
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.
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.
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 traditional one-story French Creole residence, built circa 1790, is considered to be one of the oldest surviving residences in Illinois.
An icon of days past, this one-room schoolhouse has been restored by the Emden Historical Society.
Dating back to 1855, and built from hand-hewn oak and walnut beams cut from woods along the nearby Fox River, this structure holds the unique distinction of being Kendall County’s oldest church building. With it’s “New England-style” charm, 1899 pipe organ, and original stained glass windows, the Chapel on the Green is one of the most architecturally and historically significant structures in the county. Nestled in the heart of the city’s north side, the Chapel on the Green is located one block west of Route 47 (Bridge Street) at the northeast corner of Church and Center Streets, adjacent to the historic Town Square Park.
A four-floor large museum located in a former stone mill, including items from the area and a room dedicated to Native America artifacts. A 24' long mural depicts the different eras of Indians and a buffalo hide nearby showing life of an Indian tribe. Built in 1859 as a steam-run flour mill named Sandwich Steam Mill. Open Sundays 1-4 pm from April to October. Tours by appointment.
DeKalb County Convention & Visitors Bureau Books are available to assist you.
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!
Take a look back in history and visit the Steeple building, built in 1854. Architecturally intriguing it is a three-story stucco Greek Revival structure with a two-story tower and 66 six-over-six windows. It was built to be used as a hotel, but instead was used as a dwelling, school, administration building, and later housed a bank, telephone switchboard and apartments. The museum is home to the Bishop Hill Heritage Association offices. The rooms and exhibit showcase historic artifacts and photos of early Colony days and take visitors back through time to a quaint prairie village. Group tours by appointment, small fee. Open Daily 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday Noon to 4 p.m.
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 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.
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
The original 1893 schoolhouse displays hundreds of original artifacts depicting immigrant turn-of-the-century life of families, businesses, and coal mines. Original items include the jailhouse iron doors, soccer trophies and bocce balls, coal mining tools, furniture and household items, old store supplies, Illinois coal reports, maps and plats, and plenty of family memories; there is something to interest everyone.
The Aurora Elks Lodge No. 705 is a Mayan style building on Stolp Island in Aurora, Illinois. It is included in the Stolp Island Historic District. The building was built in 1926 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. (Re-development planning in process.)
Leland Tower is a twenty-two story tall building located on Stolp Island in Aurora, Illinois. Leland Tower was at one point the tallest building in Illinois outside of Chicago. Stolp Island is recognized as a Historical District by the National Register of Historical Places. Leland Tower was at one time the tallest building in the world, and dominates the downtown of Aurora, dwarfing all the other buildings located there. The tower was built initially as a hotel. The Leland Hotel project was conceived in 1926 and was one of the most ambitious projects in the city's history. The project was announced by an organization known as the Aurora Building Corporation through Herbert P. Heiss of the First Illinois Company. Mr. Heiss had located and purchased the site for the proposed hotel. The building contract was awarded to the H.G. Chtistman Company, general contractors of South Bend, Indiana and Detroit, Michigan. Anker Sveere Graven and Arthur Guy Mayger were chosen to design the hotel which was planned to be one of the grandest buildings outside of Chicago.
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.
Victorian Italianate structure opened in 1964 that towers proudly over the Fox River and the City of Yorkville. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Olde Courthouse Gallery graces the main hall with shows featuring the work of artists from Kendall County and beyond. Laws of Nature exhibit focuses on the natural resources of the county. Tours available.
From 1908 to 1940, Sears Roebuck and Company ordered, manufactured and sold homes to hundreds of thousands of Americans. Sears homes were popular in the railroad community of Aurora, which boasts 136 authenticated properties, making Aurora one of the largest concentrations of Sears homes in the country. Take the tour - stop by the literature center at 43 W. Galena Blvd. or download an entire list of Sears Homes from the City's web site.
Enjoy a self-guided driving tour of Aurora’s historic districts. Go back in time to Pre-Civil War era when Illinois' second largest city was being formed. Visit the Roundhouse, Stolp Island, Central Fire Station, Auto-Row, the house made of coal and much more. Online tour information available by clicking the link to the City of Aurora's Historic Preservation page of the City's web site.