Lincoln's Champaign County

It is well known that Abraham Lincoln lived and worked in Illinois, but what is his history with Champaign County?

This country's great leader spent nearly 20 years of his life practicing law on the 8th judicial circuit, traveling from one county seat to another, including the county seat of Urbana in Champaign County. Throughout the year, Lincoln would travel from Decatur to Urbana to Danville to assist with civil and criminal cases that were brought to court. 

With Lincoln traveling here many times throughout his career, it is no wonder that Champaign County is home to many exhibits honoring this legend that is larger than life. Learn, explore and experience the history of Abraham Lincoln right here in Champaign County.

Museum of the Grand Prairie

Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve | 600 N. Lombard, Mahomet
217.586.2612 |

The Museum of the Grand Prairie boasts the "Champaign County's Lincoln" exhibit that allows you to travel in a buggy with Lincoln, see a daguerreotype camera up-close and hear Lincoln's friends and neighbors talk about the early history of the community.

Champaign County Courthouse

Abraham Lincoln: Large Presence in a Small Town

Champaign County Courthouse | 101 E. Main St., Urbana

Visit the Champaign County Courthouse in Urbana to experience
the sights and sounds of Lincoln’s legal career near the spot where he
tried the cases of the day. Enter the 1850s courtroom, hear Lincoln's voice,
and witness a fascinating object theatre presentation about Lincoln’s legal
career in Urbana.

Lincoln Hall

Lincoln Hall at the University of Illinois

702 South Wright St., Urbana |

Few buildings have served the University of Illinois as long and with as many purposes as the ever-evolving Lincoln Hall. Opened in 1911, and expanded in 1929, the four-story building on the southwest corner of the Quad has held theater productions, history museums, libraries, and offices for faculty and staff. Virtually every student who attends the University takes at least one class in the building. The newly remodeled building features a bust of Lincoln. Legen has it that if a student rubs Abe's nose on the way into their exam, they will receive good luck and do well on their test.

Lincoln Statue Urbana

Lincoln Statue by Lorado Taft

South Race St., Urbana 

One of the most famous Lincoln statues in the United States is found in Carle Park, established in 1909 just south of downtown. Lincoln the Lawyer, a sculpture by Lorado Taft, is located opposite the entrance to Urbana High School. The statue was dedicated by Taft on July 3, 1927, and placed in the park six months later. In recent years, the statue has undergone careful restoration.

In Lincoln's Shadow Pastcast Tour

Urbana |

Abraham Lincoln spent nearly twenty years of his life practicing law here, making friends and gaining political allies. This is not a tour of sites that he visited, but rather a look at the connections between the Urbana of Lincoln’s era and the historic buildings of today’s downtown.


More Resources on Lincoln's Champaign County

Illinois History and Lincoln Collections at the Main Library of the University of Illinois
1408 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana | View website

Prelude to a Presidency
Produced by Illinois Public Media | View website