The Phoenix Block
Looking for Lincoln
"Herewith is a little sketch...there is not much of it...I suppose, that there is not much of me." Lincoln thus fulfilled Jesse Fell's 1858 request for an autobiography. Catching Lincoln as he emerged from the courthouse, Fell invited Lincoln to meet in his brother's law office on the second floor of the Phoenix Block. Lincoln had gained national attention because of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas senatorial election debates, a race which he lost. Fell told Lincoln that if his views became better known "...you can be made a formidable, if not a successful, candidate for the presidency." Lincoln protested, insisting the services of William A. Seward and Salmon P. Chase made them more deserving. They had, he insisted rendered greater service to the new Republican Party. Fell replied that they needed a man who could be elected, not one with more party service. Fell's travels, as corresponding secretary of the Republican Party, had convinced him that Lincoln was the most acceptable presidential candidate. By late December 1859, Fell had persuaded Lincoln to write his first autobiography.
Kersey Fell's desk was used in
"Mr. Lincoln is probably the fairest and most honest political speaker in the country," wrote the Bloomington Daily Pantagraph the day after he delivered his last major speech to a capacity audience in Phoenix Hall, before his nomination to the presidency. "Several of his home thrusts, last night, went through the sophisms and duplicities of the Shamocracy with a terribly damaging offset." This April 10, 1860 speech attacked Stephen Douglas's support of Popular Sovereignty.
Lincoln represented Dr. Crothers (at right) and Dr. Rogers in the "Chicken Bone Case," named for his use of such bones in his plea to the jury. Lincoln said to the plaintiff, "I would advise you to get down on your knees and thank your Heavenly Father...that you have any legs to stand on..." Dr. Crothers' office was in the building on the far left.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Communications • Government & Politics. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Looking for Lincoln series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1857.
Location. 40° 28.779′ N, 88° 59.629′ W. Marker is in Bloomington, Illinois, in McLean County. Marker is at the intersection of Washington Street and Main Street, on the left when traveling east on Washington Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bloomington IL 61701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sigmund Livingston (a few steps from this marker); Lincoln The Lawyer (a few steps from this marker); Phoenix Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); World War II War Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (within shouting distance of this marker); Center Street Site (within shouting distance of this marker); The Dewenter's Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Risk of the Road (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bloomington.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 16, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 568 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 16, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.