“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Quincy in Adams County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Steamboats and Railroads

Steamboats and Railroads Marker image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, June 10, 2012
1. Steamboats and Railroads Marker
Lincoln traveled to Quincy by stagecoach in 1854 after crossing the Illinois River at Naples. Lincoln's first documented visit was to support the Congressional candidacy of Archibald Williams and to attack the Kansas- Nebraska Act and its author, Stephen A. Douglas. Yet Lincoln and Douglas held similar views on the importance of transportation. As fellow legislators in the 1836-37 Illinois General Assembly, both had included Quincy in bills to promote transportation in Illinois. Both believed Quincy, the state's westernmost community, was the right place for a new railroad hub. Lincoln and Douglas traveled by train to Quincy for the 1858 debate. Illinois' miles of track had nearly doubled during that decade, and both Senate candidates traveled often by rail. Douglas used a lavish private car provided by the Illinois Central Railroad; Lincoln a common coach. The day after the Quincy debate they boarded the City of Louisiana steamboat for their final debate in Alton. Lincoln returned by train to Quincy in 1859, twice headed for Council Bluffs (Iowa), crossing the river by ferry, and once returning from Hannibal after doing legal work for the Illinois Central Railroad.

The Quincy and Chicago Depot at Front and Oak, Quincy's first train station, welcomed the candidates for the Lincoln-Douglas Debate

The Mississippi River at Quincy image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 10, 2012
2. The Mississippi River at Quincy
in 1858. Douglas arrived by private train the evening before and Lincoln on the regular Burlington train from Macomb that morning. The railroad line from Chicago to Quincy, later called the CB&Q, had been completed one year earlier. The depot was replaced in 1864 by a new station at Front and Vermont. This sketch is taken from a bird's-eye-view map of Quincy, circa 1859.

Quincy owed its existence to the river. Located on the Mississippi, Quincy had ideal docking conditions for steamboats and soon became a doorway to the West. In 1835 about twenty-five steamboats arrived at the Quincy wharf. By 1841 the number grew to nearly 1,200. Thousands of bushels of corn, potatoes, wheat, oats, beans, and barrels of pork were shipped from Quincy's port. Wheat milled rose from 20,000 bushels in 1835 to 275,000 bushels in 1841. By 1853 Quincy became a port of entry and boats brought foreign goods. The coming of the railroad in 1857 gave farms better access to the river and linked Quincy to the east. The completion of the Quincy and Palmyra Railroad also in 1857 gave Quincy rail access to the west. Commerce and population grew together, and Quincy became the third largest city in Illinois during the 1850's.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Location. 39° 56.139′ N, 91° 24.957′ W. Marker is in Quincy, Illinois, in Adams County. Marker is at the intersection of Bonansinga Drive and All American Park on Bonansinga Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Quincy IL 62301, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Tri-State Business Center (here, next to this marker); Lincoln's Quincy (approx. 0.4 miles away); Downtown Quincy in 1858 (approx. 0.4 miles away); Lincoln's Friend Johnston (approx. 0.4 miles away); Douglas' Disciple (approx. 0.4 miles away); Quincy's Judge Douglas (approx. 0.4 miles away); Stephen A. Douglas in Quincy (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Mormons in Quincy (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Quincy.
Categories. AgricultureIndustry & CommerceRailroads & StreetcarsWaterways & Vessels

Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 26, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 542 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 26, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.
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