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|Location||440 N. Jackson St., Janesville, Wisconsin|
|Area||1.6 acres (0.65 ha)|
|Architectural style||Italian Villa|
|NRHP Reference #||70000085|
|Added to NRHP||October 15, 1970|
The Lincoln-Tallman House is famous because U.S. President Abraham Lincoln slept there for two days. The Tallman house had five family members and two servants, which were brother and sister. The house has 20 rooms and is 60 feet (18 m) tall.
William Tallman was a lawyer working out east when he bought 4,476 acres (1,811.4 ha) of Wisconsin Territory in the late 1840s and moved his family to Janesville, Wisconsin to keep closer watch of his holdings. Construction of the home at 305 Madison St. began in 1855 on a 3-acre (1.2 ha) bluff overlooking the Rock River on what was then the north edge of Janesville. High-quality materials included Milwaukee Cream City Brick, cast iron on the windows and black walnut doors with hand-carved panels. The original cost was $33,000 in gold. Additional work finished in 1870 brought the total to $42,000. The Tallman House roof outlasted even that on Monticello, one of the architects told Madge Murphy, executive director of the historical society. The terne, or tin-plated metal roof is an “incredible example of mid-19th century building technology,” according to the report.
The house is the only building still standing in Wisconsin that Lincoln slept in, according to Madge Murphy, executive director of the Rock County Historical Society. The Tallman family donated the Tallman House to the city in 1950 on the condition that it be operated as a public museum.
Lincoln visited Janesville Oct. 1-3, 1859, a year before he was elected president. It is the only recorded time Lincoln stayed in a Wisconsin home, organizer Jim Hay said. "This is something that Janesville can hang its hat on," Hay said. "Lincoln was here, and he slept here and he worshipped here."
Lincoln came to Rock County from Milwaukee where he had spoken at the Wisconsin State Fair. William Tallman drove to Beloit and convinced Lincoln to visit Janesville and stay at the Tallman house for the evening after a speech in Beloit. He gave a speech in Janesville on Saturday, October 1, 1859. Of course, Lincoln hadn't planned to worship in Janesville. He left his boots outside his room at William Tallman's house at night, as was the custom, and didn't find them there in the morning. He missed his train because he was embarrassed to leave his room in stocking feet, so Tallman invited him to attend First Congregational with the family.
Having missed his morning train on Sunday, October 2, Lincoln attended the Service at First Congregational Church with the Tallman family on Sunday, October 2, 1859. He then stayed overnight and caught his train to Chicago on Monday, October 3, 1859. The church that Lincoln attended was torn down in 1868, but First Congregational still meets at the same site at 54 S. Jackson St.
- Rock County Historical Society - operates tours of the Lincoln-Tallman House