Lincoln and Logan County offer visitors a wide range of attractions from the memories of simpler times found along historic Route 66, to strolling where Abraham Lincoln once walked, to the pleasures of dining in restaurants dedicated to superb cuisine. Prominent signage makes it easy to find significant structures.
Logan County is steeped in history. The City of Lincoln and most of the county's small towns have their special historic places. Logan County's first courthouse, the Postville Courthouse, is duplicated in a park in Lincoln. The present courthouse built in 1905 stands on the square in downtown Lincoln, a historic district. The interior of the courthouse dome is lined with stained glass.
The Mount Pulaski Courthouse building still stands and is open to the public. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the courthouse is one of two remaining structures on Abraham Lincoln's Eighth District Circuit. Walk there and you walk in Lincoln's footsteps. Also listed in the National Register of Historic Places is Atlanta's octagonal library building, built in 1908. Still a working library, the building has a museum on its lower level.
Visitors flock to Lincoln and the Logan County Fairgrounds for the annual three-day Art Fair and Balloon Festival, an elaborate mix of fine art, carnival rides, live music, and hot air balloon launches. Lincoln's Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting and Craft Festival is another event that draws visitors. The two-day celebration features railsplitting competitions and other old fashioned fun like a tomahawk throw contest, rail toss and log rolling competitions. Highlights of the event are a dramatization of the christening of Lincoln by Old Abe and the National Railsplitting Contest.
Other annual events that appeal to Logan County residents and visitors alike include the annual Route 66 Motor Tour, Atlanta's Fireman's Pancake and Sausage Supper: the Cedar Creek Shows at the Logan County Fairgrounds featuring 300 vendors of antiques, crafts, collectibles, and food; the annual Ice Cream Social in downtown Middletown, sponsored by the Knapp/Chestnut/ Becker Historical Society; the five-day Logan County Fair; the 1800's Craft Fair at the site of the historic Postville Courthouse; the Fall Festivals at Mount Pulaski and Atlanta; and the numerous Christmas festivals, special events and open houses.
There are plenty of comfortable places to stay. The county boasts eight motels with over 350 rooms. Several are relatively new and located close to the I-55 interchange. Visitors can enjoy great food in nearly 35 restaurants located in Lincoln and throughout Logan County. There are national fast food drive-ins, mom and pop operated family diners, steakhouses, and places that serve excellent ethnic cuisine.
The Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County can provide more information on historic sites, motel accommodations and special events. Group tours can also be arranged through the tourism office.
Throughout Logan County the living is easy. Cozy homes line quiet streets in the county's collection of small towns where neighborliness is part of daily life.
Long established neighborhoods reflect architectural styles that range from turn-of-the-century Victorian to contemporary ranch homes. In Lincoln, exceptionally fine older homes dating back to the early 1900's line the streets of Lincoln Avenue, Logan, Union, and Pekin Streets. There are handsome brick bungalows and Cape Cods, elegant American Foursquares, and an occasional Tudor style.
New development is found in the vicinity of Memorial Park and the Elk's Club. Established subdivisions, clusters of duplex homes, single apartment buildings, and apartment complexes offer residents many choices in lifestyle. Christian Village and Maple Ridge Care Centre offer townhomes and apartments for retired seniors.
Modern and historic homes dot the Logan County countryside, sometimes surrounded by outbuildings and horse corrals, sometimes the center of farm life, but often stand-alone dwellings for families who prefer the peace and seclusion of rural living. The small towns of Logan County offer the same quiet atmosphere. Amid the wooded splendor of Elkhart Hill, to the east of the hamlet of Elkhart, is a growing subdivision of large, executive-style homes. Homes are being built around North Greens Golf Course, a new 9-hole public course in Atlanta.
Whatever the budget, whatever the lifestyle, there's a home to match in Lincoln and Logan County, where the living is easy.
Lincoln and Logan County residents enjoy nature at their doorsteps. As a result, outdoor recreation is very much a part of the daily lives of residents of all ages. The park districts, the Lincoln Area YMCA, and the area schools help assure that activities abound.
A focal point of recreation in Lincoln is the Lincoln Recreation Center, on the city's southeast side. A large recreation building is the centerpiece of a 20-acre facility. The building has indoor tennis and racquetball courts, a walking/running track, a fitness center called "The Iron Factory," sauna, indoor driving net, meeting rooms, and the Park District headquarters. Surrounding the building are an Olympic size outdoor swimming pool, lighted baseball and softball diamonds, volleyball courts, a driving range, and a practice green.
Across town, on Lincoln's west side is 42-acre Lincoln Memorial Park, a heavily wooded family recreation facility. It offers a baseball-softball diamond, three play areas for youngsters, a host of picnic sites, and four pavilions. Downtown Lincoln has two historic parks with playgrounds, picnic sites, a fountain for quiet meditations, and a bandshell for summer concerts. The Park District oversees seven other neighborhood parks that range in size from more than a half-acre to as much as three acres, each with play equipment and picnic sites.
The park districts, schools and Lincoln Area YMCA work together to offer a full range of sports, recreation, and activities for residents of all ages. Swim lessons, fitness classes, golf instruction, youth football, art courses, 3-on-3 basketball tournaments, volleyball camps, and dance classes are a few of the selections.
The newest sports organization in Logan County is the Lincoln Heat, a three-tiered baseball program for 11 to 16-year-olds. Pony, Colt, and Bronco divisions have been established. Home games are played at the Lincoln Recreation Center. Both Lincoln Community High School and the American Legion Post No. 263 have baseball programs for older boys.
Bank fishing is the key feature of Allison Lake, a new recreation facility in the Lincoln area.
Residents around the county also have access to splendid park facilities. The Atlanta Park District, for example, maintains two well-equipped parks. Mount Pulaski Park District has four parks and a large outdoor swimming pool. The towns of Beason, Emden, Middletown, New Holland, Elkhart, and Latham all offer municipal parks for residents enjoyment.
The Lincoln Area YMCA offers an extensive summertime program for youngsters. Its summer day camps are held at nearby Kickapoo Creek Park. This 335-acre park is privately-owned and features trails and picnic areas. Another popular hiking park is 741-acre Edward R. Madigan State Park, a few minutes south of Lincoln. This park is a popular spot for bird watching, nature hikes, and cross country skiing.
In addition to the pool at the Lincoln Recreation Center, residents have access to the Lincoln College natatorium, an NCAA-size pool with two Olympic diving boards. Members of the Elks Club use their facility's outdoor pool, tennis courts, and sand volleyball court.
The Elks Club's challenging 18-hole course is open to members. Local golfers also enjoy Atlanta's new 9-hole public course, North Greens Golf Course, and take advantage of the many courses throughout the area.
Logan County residents take an active role in their communities. The Lincoln/ Logan Chamber of Commerce maintains a community directory of more than 75 civic and social clubs and organizations.
Annual festivals are key items on the calendar of events for Logan County. The Lincoln Art & Balloon festival, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, is held at the end of August. This annual three-day festival combines a fine arts fair with hot air balloon launches.
Downtown Lincoln's shady Latham Park is the site for the art fair. Over 80 juried artists participate and local individual and business advance patron purchases contribute to its success. Logan County Fairgrounds is the site for the hot air balloon launches, a carnival, petting zoo, crafts, live musical entertainment, mini-tractor pull competitions, and more.
Other activities are scheduled with the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival. The Park District sponsors a 5K run, Main Street Lincoln hosts children's activities featuring a cardboard castle maze, the Lincoln Public Library hosts a used book sale, and the historic Postville Courthouse has an 1800's craft fair and antique show.
In mid-September, Lincoln holds the Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Festival. The two-day event features a variety of woodsmen events like a log rolling contest, woman's firewood split contest, team railsplitting competition, a tree falling contest, tug o' war, rail toss contest, and a Fire Department water fight. Free live entertainment, craft demonstrations, flea market, food booths, an Indian village, and a petting zoo are all part of the show. The event concludes on Sunday afternoon with the National Championship Railsplitting Contest, attracting railsplitters from across Illinois and the nation.
The Logan County Fair, at the fairgrounds in Lincoln, is a 60-year tradition that draws thousands of area residents to see agricultural exhibits, enjoy grandstand shows, and enjoy the fun of a carnival. The county fair features horse shows and races, a queen pageant, tractor pull, talent contest, 4-H parade and scrambles, and a demolition derby. Children and adults enter contests for livestock, produce, pets, plants and flowers, 4-H projects, and arts and crafts.
Logan County Airport offers its annual Air Event, featuring historic aircraft and stunt flying shows. The audience also has an opportunity to visit the Heritage-In-Flight Museum, an interesting permanent aviation collection at the airport.
Area celebrations include the Mount Pulaski fall festival, the town's widely praised Fourth of July Celebration, its Casimir Pulaski Day, and its annual Christmas on Vinegar Hill craft sale. Atlanta has its Memorial Day festivities, an annual fall festival, and "Atlanta Aglow" Christmas festivities.
Lovers of music and theatre have their desires fulfilled by several organizations. The Lincolnland Community Concert Association brings five varied musical programs to the city each year. These professional performances are staged at the Earl C. Hargrove Chapel at Lincoln Christian College and Seminary.
The Lincoln Area Music Society, a group of amateur musicians and vocalists, presents two concerts annually, one featuring chamber strings, the other a chorale. The Lincoln Community Theatre presents a series of summertime productions at the Johnson Center for the Performing Arts on the Lincoln College campus.
To the south of Lincoln, on Route 121, is the Maple Club Dinner Theatre, a restored 1930's dance hall that offers a mix of fine dining and theatrical entertainment.
Students and faculty of Lincoln College's fine arts department perform concerts and plays in the College's performing arts center that are open to area residents. The College's Layman Gallery features works by top midwest artists as well as student exhibitions.
The public libraries in the communities of Logan County serve as cultural centers. The Lincoln Public Library is housed in two buildings - the original 9,000-square-foot Carnegie Building built in 1902 and the 1995 Annex, a 9,000-square-foot contemporary facility. The library has more than 44,900 volumes, 850 audio recordings, 1,100 videos, plus more than 150 CD-ROMS and 175 newspapers and periodicals. Patrons can use the library's computers to access the Internet. Annual circulation is about 108,000.
The library offers a variety of programs for youngsters and adults. Youth services are contained in the Annex. The library's three meeting rooms can accommodate 110, 45, and 30 persons, respectively.
Mount Pulaski, Atlanta and Elkhart have public libraries. The Mount Pulaski Library has 25,000 volumes and 400 periodicals in its collection. Atlanta's distinctive octagonal shaped library has more than 13,400 volumes and a small historical museum.
For visitors who want the satisfaction of having been there, head for the tiny village of Chestnut, a few miles to the southeast of Lincoln. Chestnut stands on the exact geographic center of the State of Illinois. For history buffs, Logan County has several significant sites, among them the Postville Courthouse in Lincoln, Middletown's Stage Coach Inn, built more than 150 years ago, Mount Pulaski's 1847 red brick courthouse, Atlanta's J.H. Hawes restored wooden grain elevator and the Bethel Church, in Bethel, built in 1854.
Logan County residents enjoy speedy access to high quality professional medical care. Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital of Lincoln has 66 beds and serves 17 communities in Logan County and eastern Mason County. It is affiliated with Memorial Health System of Springfield.
ALMH operates 24 hour emergency service with physicians and nurses specially trained in emergency medicine and trauma. Emergency transportation is available through the hospital-based Advanced Life Support Paramedic Program, including air transport by helicopter.
The hospital recently completed a $1,500,000 renovation of its emergency, radiology, laboratory, and central registration departments and began renovation of its surgical, rehabilitative services and obstetrics/gynecology departments. Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital's medical services include non-emergency walk-in care, orthopedics, general inpatient care, intensive and intermediate care, inpatient and outpatient surgery, CT scans, cardiac rehabilitation, EEG/EKG, mammography, sonography, pediatrics, oncology, hospice, and outpatient mental health services. In addition, it offers speech, physical, and respiratory therapy, sports medicine, and a pain management program. ALMH also has a number of classes and support groups.
Community outreach is very important to ALMH. The hospital has joined four other agencies in a unique healthcare program. The Logan County Health Department, Family Medical Center, Logan/Mason Mental Health and Lincoln-Logan County Chamber of Commerce sponsor the Rural Health Partnership. This special program brings primary and preventive healthcare to rural communities via a 36-foot long fully equipped mobile health unit, which makes regular visits throughout the county. The Partnership also provides youth education on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs as well as health education to the entire community.
Logan/Mason Mental Health and Family Counseling Service is a tax supported agency that provides individual and group therapy and counseling, marriage and family counseling, hot lines for suicide prevention and crisis intervention, and alcohol and drug abuse counseling and treatment.
Logan County boasts six quality skilled care nursing homes. Four are located in Lincoln and include retirement centers which offer independent and assisted living as well as nursing home care.
Religious faith has guided the people of Lincoln and Logan County since the early settlers gathered into a congregation of the faithful and built their first church. Today, that faith is demonstrated by the more than 60 churches that dot the county, representing all major denominations. Congregations gather regularly for worship and fellowship and work together for community betterment.
Size is a guiding factor in the type of government the communities in Logan County have overseeing their affairs. The City of Lincoln has a mayor/council form of government, as does Mount Pulaski, and Atlanta. Other smaller communities operate under the village form of government. The Lincoln City Hall is a big, classic, two-story, red brick structure in the downtown area. Most of the city's services are headquartered in this building. Lincoln's Police Department has 30 sworn officers who are dispatched via a county-wide Enhanced 911 emergency system. In addition to squad car patrols, police ride a bicycle patrol in the business district and residential areas. Bike patrol, along with foot patrol, is also used during special events. The department has a canine division, a criminal investigations division, a drug task force, and a gang unit.
Officers promote the D.A.R.E. program in Lincoln schools, sponsor Neighborhood Watch, and instruct youngsters about strangers, drugs, bicycle safety, and general safety using a costumed character named "Troubles the Clown." The department's newest program is the Citizens Police Academy, a pro-active program designed to stop crime before it happens. One officer is assigned as a full-time Community Policing Officer who meets with local groups and organizations, and school children, to discuss crime prevention. The Logan County Sheriff's Department provides police protection for many of the smaller communities.
The Lincoln Fire Department has 22 full-time firefighters and provides fire protection for the city, two state correctional facilities in the area, and the Eaton Cutler-Hammer plant. Operating out of a single fire station, the department has three engines, a 100-foot aerial ladder, and a squad vehicle. It utilizes a Safety House to train youngsters in ways to escape a burning, smoke-filled building. The Safety House is loaned to other towns in Logan County for similar training.
The Lincoln Rural Fire Protection District is a separate body with six full-time firefighters, about eight part-time, and 45 volunteers. They serve an area of 140 square miles with a fire insurance rating of six. It operates out of two stations. The one in Broadwell depends upon volunteers. The District has three pumpers (capacities: 1,000, 750, and 500 gallons), a 3,000-gallon tanker, a 750-gallon pumper at Broadwell, a 2,000-gallon tanker and a rescue vehicle.
Other communities in Logan County with their own fire department are Middletown, Mount Pulaski, and New Holland.
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