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© Abraham Lincoln Online
Metamora Courthouse113 E. Partridge
State Historic Site
Metamora, Illinois 61548
During the many years Lincoln practiced law on the old 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 outside the boundaries of the Eighth 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 Todd 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. Be sure to stop in the square to see the Lincoln statue grouping by John McClarey, which recalls Lincoln and the Melissa Goings case. 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.
© 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.
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.
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.
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