Just a Lawyer in Lincoln's Hometown

February 10, 2013

Knoxville Courthouse

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chuck @ 8:37 pm

Dull gray, wet, rainy, windy – not my idea of a day for a road trip  But I am glad I went. Sarah and I attended the Lincoln’s Birthday celebration at the Knoxville Courthouse in Knoxville, IL. When I practiced law in Peoria I often passed through Knoxville and knew the old Knox County Courthouse was still there, but I didn’t know what a gem it was. I found out today.

Built in 1839 and used as the county courthouse until the county seat was moved to Galesburg in 1873, the building is now used as part of the museum complex run by Knox County Historical Sites. The courthouse is built of locally made handmade bricks and local hand finished butternut wood. The building has been extensively rehabbed, especially the 1st floor. A lot of work has been done on the second floor, but you could see the dream in the volunteers’ eyes when they spoke of restoring it to its courtroom glory. Judge Steven Douglas held court there in 1841-43.

Today’s celebration included a reception for Dr. Rodney Davis, and Dr. Douglas Wilson. Both are nationally known Lincoln scholars at Knox College in Galesburg. The professors are nationally acclaimed for their Lincoln Studies Center and their authorship.

For years the old Courthouse housed the entire collection of the Knox County Historical Museum. It still contains many pieces in the old courtroom. But just across the street is the new museum. Climate controlled (unlike the Old Courthouse), which protects a wonderful collection, and containing everything from a buggy used by Abraham Lincoln during the 1858 Senate campaign, to WWII memorabilia, this little museum makes a great impression.

We didn’t have the time to see all that Knoxville offers, and I know there is more. Knoxville has a great gem in its downtown, one well worth a visit.

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