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Only two original courthouses in this district where Lincoln tried cases still stand today: this one and another in Metamora, Illinois, near Peoria. You will find the Mt. Pulaski site 12 miles southeast of Lincoln near the intersection of routes 121 and 54.
© Abraham Lincoln Online
Mt. Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site113 S. Washington Street
Mt. Pulaski, Illinois
Before Lincoln became president his law practice took him to county courthouses in the old Eighth Judicial Circuit of central Illinois. Although his law office and home were located in Springfield, he would travel the circuit for a total of about six months of the year, often by horseback.
This restored brick Greek Revival building, shaded by the town square trees, will catch your eye with its rich red color and white trim. It's easy to find because the town water tower also is on the square. Built in 1848, it served as a county courthouse until 1855. It doesn't take too much imagination to picture the lawn filled with farmers and townspeople of Lincoln's day, drawn to the area as much for social reasons as legal or business ones.
As you enter the building's wide doorway and make your way upstairs, you will see the courtroom familiar to Lincoln. Here he argued, won, and lost cases during the days court was in session.
The site is open year-round free of charge Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m. It is closed on major holidays. For more information call 217/792-3919.
© Abraham Lincoln Online
Click here for a map
Mt. Pulaski Courthouse (Illinois Historic Preservation Agency)
Mt. Pulaski Hosted Lincoln and Other Presidents (State Journal-Register)
Lincoln's Advice to Lawyers (ALO)
Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices (ALO)
Lincoln's Notes for a Law Lecture (ALO)
Lincoln Legal Papers (The Papers of Abraham Lincoln Part I)
Lincoln Legal Practice on DVD-ROM (ALO)
Looking for Lincoln
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.
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.
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