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CHARLESTON: COLES COUNTY
Charleston: Progressive Community With Links To An Historic Past
ich in Lincoln history and full of family fun, Charleston is a great getaway destination all year long. Whether visiting for pleasure or business, the city’s atmosphere is a perfect blend of historic past, modern culture, and progressive growth. Lincoln history is part of Charleston’s charm. Charleston was established as the Coles County seat in the 1830s. The community grew with the arrival of the railroad system. In 1858, Candidates Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas held one of their seven debates in Charleston. To commemorate this historic event, the community of Charleston completed the Lincoln Douglas Debate Museum, in 2000, at the Coles County Fairgrounds. On the beautifully landscaped grounds of the Debate Museum, visitors can pose for a photo with the life-sized bronze sculptures of the candidates, watch a film that tells the story of the Charleston debate, explore interactive displays, and even try on Lincoln’s boots and hat. Charleston is home to Eastern Illinois University, which was founded in 1895 as a teachers college. Today, the university’s campus boasts stunning architecture, beautiful landscaping, and excellent collegiate sports and fine arts performances. The Doudna Fine Arts Center is Eastern Illinois University’s architectural landmark. Designed by the internationally famous architect Antoine Predock, the renovated and greatly expanded facility boasts several public arts venues: The Theatre, which seats 300; the Black Box studio theater, seating 150; the 600-seat Dvorak Concert Hall; the 180-seat Recital Hall; the 150-seat Lecture Hall; and several corridor art galleries. The Doudna Fine Arts Center houses EIU’s departments of Art, Music and Theatre Arts. For more information, visit www.eiu.edu/doudna. Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site Lincoln Log Cabin, operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, preserves the last home of Abraham Lincoln’s father and Mr. Lincoln often makes appearances stepmother, Thomas in the Charleston area. and Sarah Bush Lincoln. Although Abraham Lincoln was a resident of Springfield by the time his father, Thomas, purchased this last farm in 1837, he remained in frequent contact with his father and extended family in Coles County. The site includes an accurate reproduction of the Lincolns’ two-room cabin that was constructed on the original cabin site in 1935 as a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) project. As an up-and-coming lawyer, Lincoln traveled the eighth judicial circuit, which brought him through Coles County regularly in the 1840s. During his stay, Lincoln, always concerned for the welfare of his parents, would often make the eight-mile trip south of Charleston for a visit. According to relatives, he regularly came bearing gifts including cash and notes due him for his legal services in Coles County. One such gift was Abraham Lincoln’s purchase of 40 acres of his father’s farm, which he promptly deeded
PAGE 42 | 2016 Discover Visitor & Vacation Guide To Central Illinois
The premiere Tourism Guide for the Central Illinois Area.