Located along the shores of the mighty Mississippi in Great Rivers Country, Quincy was a frequent stop for Lincoln. He counted some of its residents among his closest friends. It was here that the historic 6th Lincoln-Douglas Debate took place. Many said it was the turning point of the campaign and Lincoln’s political career as he made his strongest public stand yet against slavery. While you’re in town, visit the historic debate site and Lincoln-Douglas Interpretive Center in the heart of downtown Quincy. Tour the home of famed abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor, Dr. Richard Eells, whose case would be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Explore the stately mansion once belonging to Illinois’ 12th governor and Quincy founder, John Wood – a close Lincoln political ally and visit the nearby Lincoln Gallary with exhibits telling the story of Lincoln's political and personal ties with Quincy.
For more information:
- 8th Judicial Circuit
- Friends of Lincoln
- Good for Kids
- Guided/Self-Guided Tours
- Historic House
- Historic Site
- Lincoln-Douglas Debate
- Passport Site
- Route 66
- Top Destination
- Underground Railroad
- Visitor Information
- Wayside Exhibit
Quincy Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
532 Gardner Expy Quincy, Illinois 62301
Start your visit with a stop at the Quincy CVB to get all the local information on where to visit and great local places to eat and stay.
Pickup brochures for driving tours of the Fr. Tolton sites and the Mormon refuge sites. Fr. Tolton, the first African-American priest in the United States, escaped slavery as a child during the Civil War and came with his mother and siblings to Quincy. During the winter of 1838-39, Quincy provided a haven for the Mormons escaping Missouri before they settled in Nauvoo.
Historical Society of Quincy & Adams County
425 South 12th Street Quincy, Illinois 62301
We keep local history alive, and we’re proud to be a destination for scholars, history buffs and tourists alike.
Whether you’re interested in the city’s early settlers and its founding father John Wood, fascinated by the area’s ties to President Abraham Lincoln, looking for a glimpse of what life was like in the 19th century or wanting to research your genealogy - - the Historical Society is here to help you.
With two iconic locations – the Governor John Wood Mansion at 12th and State and the History Museum on the Square at 4th and Maine– the Historical Society has a treasure trove of local records and artifacts. Visit also the Lincoln Gallery, the Livery, and the 1835 Log Cabin on the 12th & State Campus.
We are committed to the ongoing collection and preservation of items related to our history, and we provide educational programs, exhibits, and tours that help make that history come to life.
The History Museum on the Square
332 Maine St. Quincy, Illinois 62301
The History Museum on the Square houses permanent and rotating installations and features displays and artifacts from the pioneer era through modern times. A unique feature of the historic structure is the large, three- story, circular corner tower which is connected to an elevated front center entrance. A sculpture garden on the grounds features significant architectural artifacts from Quincy buildings that are no longer in existence. Many of the permanent exhibits in the History Museum interpret the life and times of Abraham Lincoln.
The museum’s grounds, manicured and welcoming, are maintained by the Master Gardeners of University of Illinois Extension Unit 14 and feature well-placed pieces from the Gardner Museum’s Sculpture Garden.
The John Wood Memorial Plaza is located south of the Museum and is a tranquil landscaped patio area with engraved pavers and benches purchased by Society members. This beautiful space is fast-becoming a popular spot for receptions, lunches and weddings “near the Square.”
A stone drinking fountain on the west side of the building stands as a memorial to World War I Brigadier General Henry Root Hill.
The Lincoln Gallery
425 S 12th Street Quincy, Illinois 62301
Located in the Visitors Center next to the John Wood Mansion, the Historical Society’s Lincoln Gallery tells the story of Abraham Lincoln’s political and personal ties with Quincy and its citizens. The Lincoln-related assassination artifacts, featured in the first special exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, are showcased in the Gallery.
Quincyans served with Lincoln in the Illinois legislature from 1830 to 1850. The Kansas-Nebraska Act caused Lincoln to get back into politics in 1854 . . . bringing him to Quincy, and many local Whig politicians worked with Lincoln to launch the new Republican Party.
The nationally significant Sixth Lincoln-Douglas Debate was held in Washington Square in downtown Quincy. Quincyans helped nominate Lincoln as the Republican candidate for President, and Quincy friends supported him on his way to the White House. Lincoln used political patronage to reward Quincyans and used their talents to help his administration and the Union.
Quincyans regularly visited Lincoln at the White House, and Orville Browning was there frequently. He and Eliza were “family” at the time of Willie’s funeral. After Lincoln’s assassination, Quincyan Colonel George B. Rutherford guarded the body at the Peterson House. Browning was present at the autopsy and served as a pallbearer at Lincoln’s funeral. Later, assassination artifacts came to Quincy due to Lincoln's close ties with Quincyans.
Governor John Wood Mansion
425 S 12th St Quincy, Illinois 62301
Once the home of John Wood, Quincy's founder and Illinois' 12th Governor, the John Wood Mansion is one of the Midwest's finest examples of Greek Revival architecture.
Wood’s 14-room mansion was built in 1835 and features many ornate details inside and out as well as four large Doric columns turned by Wood himself at a lathe he built for that purpose. The Wood family moved into their third Quincy home from a nearby, two-story log cabin in 1837. Later, the mansion was moved from its original site to its current location, about a block east, so Wood could build an even larger, octagonal mansion that was demolished in the 1950s.
The Society acquired the mansion in 1906 in order to save it from demolition, renovate, and preserve it. Many original Wood family and period furnishings are displayed throughout the house.
This historically significant home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and in 2007 was named one of Illinois' 150 most important architectural structures. In celebration of the 2018 Illinois Bicentennial, the John Wood Mansion was selected as one of the Illinois 200 Great Places by the American Institute of Architects Illinois.