Decatur and Macon County has a landscape rich in Lincoln history. Many "firsts" in Lincoln’s life happened in and around Decatur. It was the first home of the Lincoln family when they moved to Illinois. Downtown Decatur was the site of Lincoln’s very first political speech, and it was here that he was first nominated for the Presidency at the State Republican Party Convention. Throughout his time as a lawyer in central Illinois, Lincoln tried a number of cases in Decatur. Today, the log courthouse where some of Lincoln's early legal cases were heard still exists in the Prairie Village at the Macon County History Museum.
While you’re "Looking for Lincoln" in Decatur, be sure to visit beautiful Lake Decatur, surrounded by nature trails, parks and a golf course. Plan a stop at Scovill Zoo and a trip to the Children’s Museum.
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
- Top Destination
- Underground Railroad
- Visitor Information
- Wayside Exhibit
Decatur Area CVB
202 E. North St. Decatur, Illinois 62523
Centrally located in the middle of the state, the Decatur-Forsyth area is an ideal hub from which to explore all of central Illinois. Following the Looking for Lincoln trail? You’ll find him here as you visit sixteen wayside exhibits that commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s ties to the area. At the Lincoln Trail Homestead State Park and Memorial, you’ll see a bronze plaque that marks the site of the Lincoln family’s first Illinois home which was located about ten miles straight west of Decatur on the Sangamon River. Other notable spots include the site of Lincoln’s first political speech, and the site where he was nominated as the Illinois canidate for President of the United States at the 1860 Illinois Republican Convention.
Macon County History Museum
5580 N. Fork Rd. Decatur, Illinois 62521
The Prairie Years and Victorian Era in Central Illinois come to life in exhibits at the Macon County History Museum. Their exhibits tell the story of Abraham Lincoln’s connection to Decatur and Macon County with displays of one of the only two matching chairs that Lincoln owned and used in his Springfield, IL law office. Also included in the exhibits are a plaster cast of Lincoln’s head and hands, campaign items and items from his nomination for the presidency in Decatur.
The Prairie Village on the museum grounds is home to such historic buildings as the reconstructed courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced in the 1830's, an 1850’s log house, an 1860’s one-room school, a smithy and a print shop.
Governor Richard J. Oglesby Mansion
421 W. William St. Decatur, Illinois 62523
Richard J. Oglesby is recognized as one of Decatur’s most distinguished citizens. He served his country well as a U.S. Senator, a Union General in the Civil War, a three-term governor of Illinois, and a close friend and colleague of Abraham Lincoln.
The Mansion was built in 1875-76 after his second marriage. The original plans for Oglesby Mansion were by William LeBaron Jenney, a Chicago architect who was best known for designing the first modern skyscraper. The Oglesbys modified the plans a great deal and hired a local contractor to build the house for them. Two of their four children were born while they lived in the house. In 1882 they moved to Lincoln Illinois and then to Elkhart where they built a much larger house on Elkhart Hill.
Homestead Prairie Farm
Rock Springs Conservation Area 3939 Nearing Lane Decatur, Illinois 62521
Walk into the past to an exciting place where the days before the Civil War live on. Homestead Prairie Farm is built around the Trobaugh-Good House located at Rock Springs Conservation Area. Now restored, you can explore rural life on the Grand Prairie of Illinois in 1860. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lincoln Trail Homestead State Park & Memorial
2676 S Lincoln Memorial Pkwy Decatur, Illinois 62522
The Lincoln Trail Homestead State Park and Memorial is a 162- acre state park located on the Sangamon River in Macon County. This was Abraham Lincoln's first home in Illinois and where he spent the winter of the deep snow. The park offers hiking, canoeing, picnicking, fishing, bird watching, recreational activities and a historical glimpse to the past through QR codes, kiosks, and memorials. The park is open May – November and is a day use park. No camping is allowed.