Home | News | Books | Speeches | Places | Resources | Education | Index | Search
© Abraham Lincoln Online
Metamora Courthouse113 E. Partridge
State Historic Site
Metamora, Illinois 61548
During the many years Lincoln practiced law on the Eighth Judicial Circuit in Illinois, he often visited this building. Completed in 1845, it is a typical example of classical architecture. This restored building and the one in Mt. Pulaski are the only two original courthouses remaining from the time Lincoln rode this circuit. An additional courthouse has been preserved in Beardstown, which was not part of the circuit.
This building was constructed of bricks burned in local kilns and hardwood from trees felled near the village. During Lincoln's day, lawyers such as Edward Baker, Stephen Logan and John Stuart tried cases here, heard by judges such as David Davis and Samuel Treat -- all associates of Lincoln.
You can reach the site from Route 116, about 14 miles northeast of Peoria. You'll find it on the town square facing the band stand. Lincoln started trying cases here when the building was new and he was still associated with his second law partner, Stephen Logan. Work in county courthouses like Metamora was the heart of Lincoln's law practice, and traveling the circuit took him away from his Springfield home for several months each year.
When you visit the site, you can examine museum exhibits on the first floor. Don't miss the table Lincoln used with Newton Bateman, Illinois Superintendent of Public Instruction, during the 1860 presidential campaign. Part of the table was cut away to accommodate Lincoln's extra-long legs. Another special item is an American flag made for the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.
© Abraham Lincoln Online
Upstairs you can see the restored courtroom, jury room and judge's chambers. The courtroom, which features original flooring and period furnishings, has been restored to its 1845 appearance. The judge's bench is unsually high, with a short flight of stairs on each side.
The courthouse is open March through October, Tuesday - Saturday 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. From November through February hours are noon to 4 p.m. The site is closed on major holidays. For more information call 309/367-4470.
Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices (ALO)
Lincoln Legal Papers (The Papers of Abraham Lincoln Part I)
Lincoln Legal Practice on DVD-ROM (ALO)
Lincoln's Advice to Lawyers (ALO)
Lincoln's Notes for a Law Lecture (ALO)
Looking for Lincoln
Metamora Courthouse (Illinois Historic Preservation Agency)
Davenport, Don. In Lincoln's Footsteps: A Historical Guide to the Lincoln Sites in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. Revised edition, Trails Books, 2002.
Duff, John J. A. Lincoln: Prairie Lawyer. New York: Rinehart & Co., 1960.
Fraker, Guy C. Lincoln's Ladder to the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit. Southern Illinois University Press, October 2012.
Frank, John P. Lincoln as a Lawyer. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1961.
Gary, Ralph. Following in Lincoln's Footsteps: A Historical Reference to Hundreds of Sites Visited by Abraham Lincoln. Carroll & Graf, 2001.
Hill, Frederick T. Lincoln the Lawyer.
Steiner, Mark E. An Honest Calling: The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln. Northern Illinois University Press, 2006.
Walsh, John Evangelist. Moonlight: Abraham Lincoln and the Almanac Trial. St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Whitney, Henry C. Life on the Circuit with Lincoln. Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1940.
Home | News | Education | Places | Resources | Books | Speeches | Search