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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 Tours

A 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.


Antique 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

Chevrolet Hall of Fame Museum

Children's Museum of Illinois

Hieronymus Mueller Museum

Macon County History Museum Complex

Rock Springs Nature Center

Scovill Zoo

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