Old Main at Knox College in Galesburg is the only remaining original Lincoln-Douglas debate site – commemorated by large bronze tablets flanking the east door. Poet Carl Sandburg, possibly one of the most famous of all Lincoln scholars, was born in Galesburg and his birthplace is open to visitors today. Galesburg of Lincoln’s day was a railroad town. Be sure to stop by the Galesburg Railroad Museum for a glimpse of railroads through history. You’ll be able to tour an actual 1923 Pullman parlor car and a restored passenger engine. Next door, the kids will love the Discovery Depot Children’s Museum filled with interactive exhibits, exciting programs and fun things to see and do. Just a short walk from here, you’ll find Seminary Street Commercial District with restaurants, unique shops, and a huge antique mall.

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Galesburg Convention & Visitors Bureau
2163 E. Main Street
Galesburg, IL 61401



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Galesburg Area CVB
2163 E. Main St. Galesburg, Illinois 61401

Visitor Information

Galesburg, founded in 1837 by Reverend George Washington Gale and a group of anti-slavery advocates, was founded simultaneously with Knox College, a small, private, liberal arts college still located in the heart of the city. In the same year, the first anti-slavery society in Illinois was founded in Galesburg and was also a stop on the Underground Railroad. 

During those contentious years of the American Civil War, Galesburg was proudly the home of Mary Ann “Mother” Bickerdyke, who humbly cared for Union soldiers and whose statue you can visit just outside the Knox County Courthouse. The fifth Lincoln-Douglas debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas was hosted at Knox College’s Old Main on October 7, 1858, and Galesburg continues its dedication to preserving its history today.

A visit to Galesburg means almost immediate access to its friendly neighbors all around. Plan your next Galesburg vacation with these other Knox County towns in mind. You won’t want to miss out on the rich history and amazing locals!

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Carl Sandburg State Historic Site
313 East Third Galesburg, Illinois 61401

Historic House Historic Site

Lincoln author and poet Carl Sandburg was born in this modest three-room cottage on January 6, 1878. The home reflects typical living conditions of a late-nineteenth century working class family. Many of the furnishings once belonged to the Sandburg family. Behind the home is a small wooded park that features a simple memorial to the poet. Sandburg’s ashes were returned, as he had requested, to his Galesburg birthplace. They were placed in the park under a granite boulder called Remembrance Rock. Next to Sandburg’s birthplace is a visitor center which features a film about Sandburg and a variety of exhibits which recount important details of his life. Phone: 309-342-2361 

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The Fifth Debate
398 S. Cherry St. Galesburg, Illinois 61401

Wayside Exhibit

Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibits tell the stories of Lincoln’s life and times in Illinois.  Each wayside exhibit tells a unique Lincoln story and a local story.  Many of the waysides share little known stories about Lincoln and the individuals he interacted with.  There are over 260 Looking for Lincoln waysides in the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area.    

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