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Lincoln is a city in Logan Countymarker, Illinoismarker, United Statesmarker. It is the only town in the United Statesmarker that was named for Abraham Lincoln before he became president; he practiced law there from 1847 to 1859. First settled in the 1830s, Lincoln is home to three colleges and two prisons. The three colleges are Lincoln College, Lincoln Christian University, and Heartland Community College. It is also the home of the world's largest covered wagon.

The population was 15,369 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Logan Countymarker.


Lincoln is located on I-55 (formerly U.S. Route 66), between Bloomingtonmarker and Springfieldmarker. In addition Illinois Route 10 and Illinois Route 121 run into the city and Illinois Route 121 now ends in Lincoln; former Route 121 north of the city is now Interstate 155.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.9 square miles (15.3 km²), none of which is covered by water.

Lincoln's Amtrak train stationmarker is on the Amtrak line between St. Louismarker and Chicagomarker. Lines of the Union Pacific and Canadian National railroads run through the city. Salt Creek and the Edward R.marker Madigan State Fish and Wildlife Areamarker are nearby.


The town was officially named on August 28, 1853 in an unusual ceremony. Abraham Lincoln, having assisted with the platting of the town and working as counsel for the newly laid railroad which led to its founding, was asked to participate in a naming ceremony for the town. During the proceedings, Lincoln chose a ripe watermelon from a nearby wagon, broke it open, and squeezed the juice on the grounds, as an informal rite of baptism. The town of Lincoln was the first city named after Abraham Lincoln while he was a lawyer and before he was President of the United States.

Lincoln College (chartered Lincoln University), a private four-year liberal arts college, was founded in early 1865 and granted 2 year degrees until 1929. News of the establishment and name of the school was communicated to President Lincoln shortly before his death making Lincoln the only college to be named after Lincoln while he was living. The College has an excellent collection of Abraham Lincoln related documents and artifacts, housed in a museum which is open to the general public.

The City of Lincoln was located directly on U.S. Route 66 from 1926 through 1978. This is its secondary tourist theme after the connection with Abraham Lincoln.

American author Langston Hughes spent some of his early years in Lincoln. Later on, he was to write to his eighth-grade teacher in Lincoln, telling her his writing career began there in the eighth grade, when he was elected class poet.

The City of Lincoln features the stone, three-story, domed Logan County Courthouse (1905), which is considered the second most architecturally spectacular surviving historic courthouse in Illinois' 102 Counties (after Carlinvillemarker in Macoupin Countymarker). This courthouse building replaced the earlier Logan County Courthouse (built 1853–54) where Lincoln once practiced law; the earlier building had fallen into serious decay and could not be saved. In addition, the Postville Courthouse State Historic Sitemarker contains a 1953 replica of the original 1840 Logan County courthouse; Postville, the original county seat, lost its status in 1848 and was itself annexed into Lincoln in the 1860s.

Lincoln was also the site of the Lincoln Developmental Center (LDC); a state institution for the developmentally disabled. Founded in 1877, the institution was one of Logan County's largest employers until closed in 2002 by former Governor George Ryan due to concerns about patient maltreatment. Despite efforts by some Illinois state legislators to reopen LDC, the facility remains shuttered.


As of the census of 2000, there were 15,369 people, 5,965 households, and 3,692 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,596.6 people per square mile (1,002.4/km²). There were 6,391 housing units at an average density of 1,079.8/sq mi (416.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.79% White, 2.82% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.89% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.45% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.19% of the population.

There were 5,965 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.89.

The town's population is spread out with 21.6% under the age of 18, 13.8% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $34,435, and the median income for a family was $45,171. Males had a median income of $33,596 versus $22,500 for females. The per-capita income for the town is $17,207. About 8.5% of families and 10.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.9% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people from Lincoln


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