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History Buff

Take a trip back in time to discover Lincoln’s connection to Mt. Vernon, past businesses and fascinating architecture and buildings.
Jefferson County Historical Village
1411 N 27th St, Mt Vernon, IL 62864
(618) 246-0033

One step in the Jefferson County Historical Village and you’ll feel as if you’ve travelled back to the mid-1800s. The museum and village reflect life from the beginning of Jefferson County. Step inside a 19th century log home, one-room school, log church, calaboose jail, blacksmith shop, print shop, general store, and medical building. During the first weekend in October, the Heritage Festival brings the village to life with basketry, glass bead making, blacksmithing and weaving demonstrations, bluegrass music, handmade crafts, and more. The Village is open weekends from the first full weekend in May until the last weekend of October.
5th District Appellate Courthouse
14th and Main St., Mt. Vernon, IL 62864
(618) 242-3120

Local history doesn’t stop at the Historical Village. Illinois’ 5th District Appellate Courthouse is the only courthouse, still in operation, where Abraham Lincoln himself once argued a case. In 1859, Lincoln successfully argued a tax case before the Supreme Court, representing the Illinois Central Railroad. Soon to be General of the Union Army, George B. McClellan, was present to witness Lincoln’s case. Then, in 1888, the courtroom turned into a temporary hospital after a devastating F-4 tornado plowed through Mt. Vernon, killing 30 and destroying over 300 homes. American Red Cross founder, Clara Barton, was sent to Mt. Vernon to lead the recovery efforts at the makeshift courthouse hospital. Call ahead to schedule a tour of the Appellate Courthouse Monday through Friday. Peek at the 22 ft. ceiling, chandelier, woodwork, judges’ chambers, and more. Before you leave, snap a picture with the 9 ft bronze Abraham Lincoln statue on the front lawn.
History Buff - Mt. Vernon, IL Tourism