About DecaturDecatur, named for American naval hero Commodore Stephen Decatur, became the seat of Macon County in 1829. The city is known for its historic landmarks, mainly concentrated within an 80-acre tract of land. The historic district is said to contain buildings of every architectural style from the Civil War to the Depression eras. Houses of significance include Millikin Homestead, an 1875 mansion on N. Pine Street; the 1874 Governor Richard J. Oglesby Mansion on W. William Street; and the Prairie Style homes on Millikin Place, designed and built by protégés of Frank Lloyd Wright.
In 1830 Abraham Lincoln and his family arrived northeast of Decatur and built a log cabin along the Sangamon River. Working as a farmer and rail-splitter, 21-year-old Lincoln made his first political speech in what is now Lincoln Square. Discouraged after a severe winter, the family abandoned its homestead after only 1 year. Lincoln later moved to Decatur and worked as a circuit-riding attorney-at-law.
Statues of Lincoln as a young man stand on the campus of Millikin University, 1184 W. Main St., and in front of the county courthouse at 253 E. Wood St. A bronze plaque denoting Macon County's first courthouse, where Lincoln practiced law, is in Lincoln Square. The original log courthouse was relocated to Macon County History Museum Complex . A plaque and wayside exhibit at 130 N. Water St., south of Central Park, marks the site where Lincoln was nominated for presidency at the 1860 Republican Convention.
The Decatur Celebration in early August features arts and crafts, a carnival, a parade, live musical entertainment and children's activities. Recreational opportunities abound at Lake Decatur, off US 36. Fourteen miles long and covering more than 2,800 acres, the lake offers opportunities for boating, fishing and water skiing.
Visitor Centers Decatur Area Convention and Visitors Bureau 202 E. North St. Decatur, IL 62523. Phone:(217)423-7000 or (800)331-4479
Self-guiding ToursA guide book with information about local history, points of interest and recreational activities is available at the convention and visitors bureau. Information about antique shops and a walking tour map of Decatur's historic houses also are available.
ShoppingAntique shopping is popular in Decatur. Quilts, furniture and other treasures are available at Elwin Antique Mall, 5027 US 51. Housed in a restored rail depot, Wabash Depot Antique Centre, 780 E. Cerro Gordo, offers 10,000 square feet of antique dealers and pieces.
Things to Do Birks Museum
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