Audio tour sites

When you arrive at each destination, tune your car radio to the frequency noted here or on the posted sign. If you have questions during your tour, call the Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau at (217) 243-5678.

PLEASE NOTE: The radio broadcast from each Looking for Lincoln property has been temporarily suspended, but will soon resume on a new frequency. If you would like to enjoy the broadcasts, you can download the MP3 files from this Web site. Or, please stop by the Jacksonville Convention and Visitors Bureau at 310 East State to obtain a CD that you can listen to in your car. The Visitors Bureau can be contacted at (217) 243-5678 for any questions. We apologize for the inconvenience.

1. Beecher Hall

Illinois College Campus
Tune Radio to 92.5 FM

Beecher Hall, which was built in 1829-30 and originally was known as the College Building, is the only structure remaining on the Illinois College campus that would have been familiar to New Salem friends of Abraham Lincoln, several of whom, including David Rutledge, William Berry, Harvey Ross and William and Lynn Greene, attended IC in the 1830s. The New Salem residents most likely studied and prayed within Beecher Hall’s walls, because in the early days of IC, the building contained a classroom, a library, a chapel and a dormitory. Beecher Hall was named after Edward Beecher, the first president of IC, in 1888.

2. David A. Smith House

1061 Grove Street, SE Corner of Grove and Park
Tune Radio to 92.5 FM
David A. Smith, a Jacksonville attorney and colleague of Abraham Lincoln, had this two-story, Federal-style house built between 1852 and 1854. When Lincoln had legal business in Jacksonville, he used Smith’s law office as his headquarters. Records indicate that Lincoln and Smith were associated with 68 cases as either co-counselors or opposing attorneys. In one of their more famous cases, Lincoln represented wealthy Jacksonville businessman Colonel James Dunlap, while Smith represented Jacksonville newspaper editor Paul Selby. Selby sued Dunlap for $10,000 in actual and punitive damages after Dunlap and some of his associates allegedly battered him. Ultimately, the jury found for Selby, but only awarded him $300 in damages.

3. Governor Duncan Mansion

4 Duncan Place, Centrally located in Duncan Park
Tune Radio to 92.5 FM
Governor Joseph Duncan, who served as governor of Illinois from 1834 to 1838, had this two- and one-half-story house constructed between 1833 and 1835. Tradition says that Lincoln visited the Duncan home, and it is quite possible that happened, given the fact that Lincoln lived in nearby New Salem and Springfield during the time both men were members of the Whig Party. Lincoln served his first two terms as a state representative while Duncan was governor. In addition, voting records show that Lincoln cast ballots for Duncan three times. Tours available.

4. Newton Bateman House

907 West State Street
Tune Radio to 92.5 FM
Newton Bateman, a well-known educator in Illinois in the 1800s and friend of Abraham Lincoln, lived in this Gothic Revival-style house in the 1850s. He was principal of what is purported to be the first free public high school in Illinois — West Jacksonville District School — in the 1850s. Bateman, while serving as state superintendent of schools, had an office next to President-elect Lincoln in the Illinois Capitol in Springfield, and the two men became friends in the months prior to Lincoln’s departure for Washington, D.C. Bateman is said to have been the last person to shake hands with Lincoln as the train pulled away from the Springfield depot.

5. Lincoln and Slavery Mural

South Sandy Street
Tune Radio to 92.5 FM
(The mural is painted on the side of the building on Sandy Street, at the southwest corner of Central Park.)
In 1856, Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech in the Morgan County Courthouse park, now known as Central Park Plaza, sharing his views about one of the hotly debated topics of the day — the extension of slavery into newly organized territories of the United States. Joseph O. King, a local merchant, later recalled Lincoln’s stirring oratory. "One of the first strong antislavery speeches made here was by Abraham Lincoln," remembered King. "He spoke in the courthouse park, and when he came out sharp and strong against slavery, I threw up my hat and shouted, ‘Hurray for Abe Lincoln for president of the United States.'"

6. 1859 Senate Race

Northeast corner of square
Tune Radio to 92.5 FM
On Monday September 27th, Lincoln arrived in Jacksonville by train from Springfield and was met by large delegations from Morgan, Cass, and Scott Counties. They moved from the depot to the square where Lincoln made one of his sixty-three speeches he had done across the state, contesting for the U.S. Senate. Lincoln was said to have spoken for two and a half hours.

7. James Jaquess House

339 East State Street
Tune Radio to 92.5 FM
James Jaquess, the first president of the Illinois Conference Female Academy, now MacMurray College, once lived in this house. Jaquess, a Methodist minister, first met Lincoln when he was preaching and Lincoln was practicing law in central Illinois. During the Civil War, Lincoln entrusted Jaquess with important missions. In 1863, Jaquess met with Confederate officials to discuss ending the war. The following year, Jaquess met with Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who declared that the South would accept peace only if it could remain independent. Jaquess gave an oral report to Lincoln that was transcribed and printed as campaign literature for the Union Republican Party.

8. The Civil War Governor

East State Street
Tune Radio to 92.5 FM
Richard Yates, the first graduate of Illinois College, shared strong views with Abraham Lincoln; they both supported the Whig Party and strongly opposed Stephen A. Douglas. Yates was the Radical Republican Governor of Illinois during the Civil War. He made trips to visit and encourage troops by supporting the sick and wounded. This is why he became known as the "Soldier's Friend." As the war was ending, Yates became a member of the U.S. Senate.

9. Whig Rivals and Friends

500 East State Street
Tune Radio to 92.5 FM
In 1831 John J. Hardin moved to Jacksonville. Hardin and Lincoln served in the Black Hawk War and they both were lawyers and Whig politicians who became rivals for leadership of the party. It is said that Hardin may have saved Lincoln's life by rushing to an island near Alton to stop a duel between Lincoln and General James Shields, at whom Lincoln poked fun in a published letter. Hardin persuaded the men to come to a compromise.

10. General Benjamin Grierson Mansion

852 East State Street
Tune Radio to 92.5 FM
Civil War hero General Benjamin Grierson once called this large brick house home. In the mid-1850s, while living in Meredosia, Grierson joined the new Republican Party and became friends with one of its leaders, Abraham Lincoln. In 1860, Grierson, an accomplished musician, wrote campaign music for Lincoln’s first presidential campaign. The following year found Grierson answering his friend President Lincoln's call to arms. Grierson's actions during the four bloody years of the Civil War transformed the musician and bandleader into a nationally known cavalry commander for the Union Army.