Downtown Quincy in 1858
Looking for Lincoln
Sixteen days of rain had laid a coat of mud over the macadam streets that wrapped the city's square. Called the "Model City" because of its beautiful setting on the bluffs, Quincy in 1858 occupied about five square miles within its corporate limits. Its largest manufacturing establishments were built on the shore of Quincy Bay, near the bustling waterfront and the station for the recently completed Quincy and Chicago Railroad. Washington Square was located three blocks uphill. Surrounding it were fifty-six buildings, ranging from single-story frame structures to three-story brick edifices packed with businesses on every level. The square offered dry goods, groceries, clothes, hats, shoes, jewelry, land offices, banks, insurance, rail ticketers, hardware, furniture, doctor, dentist, pharmacist, photographer, music and dance studios, and saloons---ninety-eight businesses in all. With rapid growth due to the railroad, new buildings were being erected to keep pace with demand. Sidewalks in downtown Quincy were paved with brick. Macadamized streets had been laid, and street lights had been converted from oil to gas. Yet Quincy
Abraham Lincoln saw the vibrant commercial district around Quincy's public square as he stood on the wooden platform erected for the sixth debate. Behind him on Fifth Street was the colonnaded Greek Revival Adams County courthouse. Just north and on the corner, Republican friends Abraham Jonas and Henry Asbury occupied one of seven law offices on the square. Looking over the crowd, Lincoln saw the Daily Whig and Republican, the only three-story building on the square's west side and the elegant Quincy House hotel on the southwest corner. Across the streets from the square on all sides, irregular wooden awnings jutted out from the stores.
With its booming population, land sales and commerce, Quincy deserved a grand hotel. In 1838 John Tillson, a land company agent, opened the Quincy House on the southeast corner of Fourth and Main. Judged the most elegant hotel between Cincinnati and St. Louis, it soon became the social and commercial center of early Quincy. Stephen A. Douglas maintained a room there during part of the time he lived in Quincy. He later stayed at the Quincy House on occasion, including before and after his debate with Lincoln. Lincoln's stay at the Quincy House followed his address at Kendall's Hall in 1854 on behalf of Archibald Williams. On April 15,
Erected by State of Illinois Historic Preservation Agency & Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & Politics • Industry & Commerce. 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 1906.
Location. 39° 55.982′ N, 91° 24.541′ W. Marker is in Quincy, Illinois, in Adams County. Marker is on Hampshire Street west of North 5th Street, on the right when traveling east. Marker is in Washington Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 101 North 5th Street, Quincy IL 62301, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lincoln's Quincy (here, next to this marker); Douglas' Disciple (here, next to this marker); Quincy's Judge Douglas (here, next to this marker); Washington Theater (within shouting distance of this marker); Lincoln Correspondent (within shouting distance of this marker); Lincoln Promoter (within shouting Spread of Slavery Into The Territories (within shouting distance of this marker); Dred Scott Decision (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Quincy.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 25, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 583 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on August 25, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. 2. submitted on September 2, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. 3, 4. submitted on August 25, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.