Lincoln, Illinois (Amtrak station)
The waiting area at Lincoln in 2004.
|Address||Broadway and N. Chicago Sts.
Lincoln, IL 62656
|Platforms||1 side platform|
|Passengers (2013)||25,393 13%|
The Lincoln, Illinois Amtrak station is a small brick shelter constructed near the former Chicago and Alton Railroad depot that also served the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Although not used by Amtrak, the historic depot was renovated for commercial use and was long occupied by a restaurant. The Amtrak shelter and depot are located at the center of Lincoln, Illinois, at Broadway and Chicago Streets.
Many pioneers of Illinois's Logan County tried to develop towns within the county that could become the county seat and business center for local farmers. Early plats and developments include the Postville Courthouse State Historic Site and the Mount Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site. A final decision on the county seat was not reached until 1853, when a railroad, the predecessor of what was to become the Chicago & Alton, laid tracks through the county as part of a trunk line from Chicago to St. Louis. Railroad management selected a site along the tracks for development, and named the new town after the railroad's lawyer, Abraham Lincoln.
On August 27, 1853, Mr. Lincoln arrived from Springfield and led a ceremony by the railroad tracks to mark the founding of the new town. The successful lawyer paid a farmer to bring a wagonload of watermelons, which were handed out to the celebrants. Lincoln cut into one of the melons and "christened" the railroad trackside with the juice.
The depot today
The spot where this celebration took place is the site of the Lincoln, Illinois passenger railroad depot today, and a watermelon monument stands on the south lawn of the depot.
Lincoln's depot primarily serves passengers for Chicago, St. Louis, and points in between, as it did when the railroad was built in 1853.