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MONTICELLO: PIATT COUNTY
Monticello: Railway Museum, Allerton Park Midwest Gems
onticello, the Piatt County seat, offers a breath of fresh air with a town square built around a refurbished courthouse in an area that invites guests to slow down and relax. The downtown was recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On and off the Square, downtown Monticello’s one-of-a-kind shops, galleries and restaurants provide a diverse array of things to do and see. Don’t miss Skinner’s Coachhouse Antiques for its selection of antiques and collectibles. Visitors also will want to stop at Out Of The Blue for the largest selection of Polish pottery and gifts and enjoy its new location. Monticello was recently named a “Looking for Lincoln” community, and a Lincoln storyboard telling part of the Lincoln Monticello story is located in the downtown Rotary Park. In addition to the storyboard in Rotary Park, there are now two other storyboards; one at the downtown Wabash Depot and one at the Railway Museum. The unique charm of nearby Allerton Park, an extensively landscaped park mixed with ornaments, fine art and a manor house modeled after Ham House in England, provides visitors with a grand tourist destination. The park was donated to the University of Illinois for public use in 1946 by Robert Allerton, the son of a well-established banker and livestock baron. The park is open to the public daily until sunset. The new bridge on the south side of the park opened in the fall of 2012 and is a super entrance to the park. Formal gardens and more than 100 sculptures are located near the mansion. Allerton House is used as a retreat center and is the perfect place for a wedding or conference. The main facade of the 40-room Georgian mansion overlooks a reflecting pool and meadow. The native forest, a 50-acre restored prairie, Lost Garden (a wilderness garden) and 1,500 acres of woodland following the Sangamon River with numerous hiking trails make the park a great attraction.
The Monticello Railway Museum The Allerton forest supports an extensive animal population. Bird species unusual to the area can be seen in the forest, and the migratory bird population is impressive in the spring and fall. Allerton Park and Retreat Center is one of the “7 Wonders of Illinois.” The Monticello Railway Museum, an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization, is another highly popular tourist attraction. The museum is located just north of Monticello at Exit 166 off Interstate 72. Since the museum’s founding in 1966, one of its goals has been to preserve and restore the nation’s railroad heritage, with a focus on the Midwest. Of course, the highlight of a visit to the museum is a train ride. Passengers may board the train at either the restored Illinois Central Depot at the museum grounds or the historic Wabash Depot in downtown Monticello for a round trip train ride. The museum is open weekends, May through October. For
Come see all that Monticello, IL has to offer. Great shopping, restaurants, a Railway Museum, and beautiful historic districts, in addition to the wonders of Allerton Park. It’s more than you imagined.
allerton park and retreat center the railway museum
shopping and dining
Monticello Chamber of Commerce | 800.952.3396 | www.monticellotourism.org
PAGE 40 | 2016 Discover Visitor & Vacation Guide To Central Illinois
The premiere Tourism Guide for the Central Illinois Area.