1860 photo taken 4 days after Mr. Lincoln visited Lincoln, Illinois, for the last time. Info at 3 below.

This President grew;
His town does too.
Link to Lincoln:
Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership

Site Map

Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of Lincoln, IL

Abraham Lincoln and the Historic Postville Courthouse,
including a William Maxwell connection to the Postville Courthouse

About Henry Ford and the Postville Courthouse, the Story of the Postville Courthouse Replica,
Tantivy, & the Postville Park Neighborhood in the
Route 66 Era


The Rise of Abraham Lincoln and His History and Heritage in His First Namesake Town,
also the founding of Lincoln College, the plot to steal Lincoln's body, and memories of Lincoln College and the Rustic Tavern-Inn

Introduction to the Social & Economic History of Lincoln, Illinois,
including poetry by William Childress & commentary by Federal Judge Bob Goebel & Illinois Appellate Court Judge Jim Knecht

"Social Consciousness in William Maxwell's Writings Based on Lincoln, Illinois" (an article published in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, winter 2005-06

Peeking Behind the Wizard's Screen: William Maxwell's Literary Art as Revealed by a Study of the Black Characters in Billie Dyer and Other Stories

Introduction to the Railroad & Route 66 Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois

The Living Railroad Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois: on Track as a Symbol of the "Usable Past"


Route 66 Overview Map of Lincoln with 42 Sites, Descriptions, & Photos

The Hensons of Business Route 66

The Wilsons of Business
Route 66
including the Wilson Grocery & Shell Station

Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Lincoln Memorial Park
(former Chautauqua site),
the Historic Cemeteries, & Nearby Sites

Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Salt Creek & Cemetery Hill,
the highway bridges, GM&O bridge, Madigan State Park, the old dam (with photos & Leigh's memoir of "shooting the rapids" over the old dam), & the Ernie Edwards' Pig-Hip Restaurant Museum in Broadwell

The Historic Logan County Courthouse, Past & Present

Route 66 Map with 51 Sites in the Business & Courthouse Square Historic District,
including locations of historical markers
(on the National Register of Historic Places)

Vintage Scenes of the Business & Courthouse Square Historic District

The Foley House:  A Monument to Civic Leadership
(on the National Register of Historic Places)

Agriculture in
the Route 66 Era

Arts & Entertainment Heritage,
including the Lincoln Theatre Roy Rogers' Riders Club of the 1950s

Business Heritage

Cars, Trucks & Gas Stations of the Route 66 Era

including the hometown churches of Author William Maxwell & Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr

Factories, Past and Present

Food Stores of
the Route 66 Era


Hospitals, Past and Present

Hotels & Restaurants of the Railroad & Route 66 Eras

Lincoln Developmental Center
(Lincoln State School & Colony in the Route 66 era), plus
debunking the myth of Lincoln, Illinois, choosing the Asylum over the University of Illinois

Mining Coal, Limestone, & Sand & Gravel; Lincoln Lakes; & Utilities


Museums & Parks, including the Lincoln College Museum and its Abraham Lincoln Collection, plus the Heritage-in-Flight Museum

with Distinction

News Media in the Route 66 Era

The Odd Fellows' Children's Home


Memories of the 1900 Lincoln Community High School,
including Fred Blanford's dramatic account of the lost marble fountain of youth

A Tribute to the Historians and Advocates of Lincoln, Illinois

Watering Holes of the Route 66 Era

The Historic 1953 Centennial Celebration of Lincoln, Illinois

The Festive 2003 Sesqui-centennial Celebration of Lincoln, Illinois,
including photos of LCHS Class of 1960 dignitaries & the Blanfords

Why Did the State Police Raid Lincoln, Illinois, on October 11, 1950?

The Gambling Raids in Lincoln and Logan County, Illinois,
During the Late Route 66 Era (1950-1960)


Pages in this section tell about Leigh Henson's Lincoln years, moving away, revisits, and career:

About Lincoln, Illinois;
This Web Site; & Me

A Tribute to Lincolnite Edward Darold Henson: World War II U.S. Army Veteran of the Battles for Normandy and the Hedgerows; Brittany and Brest; and the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge)

For Remembrance, Understanding, & Fun: Lincoln Community High School Mid-20th-Century Alums' Internet Community
(a Web site and email exchange devoted to collaborative memoir and the sharing of photos related to Lincoln, Illinois)

Leigh Henson's Pilgrimage to Lincoln, Illinois, on
July 12, 2001

Leigh Henson's Review of Dr. Burkhardt's William Maxwell Biography

Leigh Henson's Review of Ernie Edwards' biography, Pig-Hips on Route 66, by William Kaszynski

Leigh Henson's Review of Jan Schumacher's Glimpses of Lincoln, Illinois

Teach Local Authors: Considering the Literature of Lincoln, Illinois

Web Site About
Leigh Henson's Professional Life


Pages in this section are about the writing, memorabilia, and Web sites of other Lincolnites:

A Tribute to Bill and Phyllis Stigall:
Exemplary Faculty of Lincoln College at Mid-Twentieth Century

A Tribute to the Krotzes of Lincoln, Illinois

A Tribute to Robert Wilson (LCHS '46): Author of Young in Illinois, Movies Editor of December Magazine, Friend and Colleague of December Press Publisher Curt Johnson, and Correspondent with William Maxwell

Brad Dye (LCHS '60): His Lincoln, Illinois, Web Site,
including photos of many churches

Dave Armbrust's Memorabilia of Lincoln, Illinois

J. Richard
(JR) Fikuart
(LCHS '65):
he Fikuarts of Lincoln, Illinois, including their connections to the William Maxwell family and three generations of family fun at Lincoln Lakes

Jerry Gibson (LCHS '60): Lincoln, Illinois, Memoirs & Other Stories

Dave Johnson (LCHS '56): His Web Site for the Lincoln Community High School Class of 1956

Sportswriter David Kindred: Memoir of His Grandmother Lena & Her West Side Tavern on Sangamon Street in the Route 66 Era

Judge Jim Knecht
(LCHS '62): Memoir and Short Story, "Other People's Money," Set in Hickey's Billiards on Chicago Street in the Route 66 Era

William A. "Bill" Krueger (LCHS '52): Information for His Books About Murders in Lincoln

Norm Schroeder (LCHS '60): Short Stories

Stan Stringer Writes About His Family, Mark Holland, and Lincoln, Illinois

Thomas Walsh: Anecdotes Relating to This Legendary Attorney from Lincoln by Attorney Fred Blanford & Judge Jim Knecht

Leon Zeter (LCHS '53): His Web Site for the
Lincoln Community High School Class of 1953
including announcements of LCHS class reunions

(Post yours there.)


Highway Sign of
the Times:

The Route 66
Association of Illinois

The Illinois State Historical Society

Illinois Tourism Site:
Enjoy Illinois



Email a link to this page to someone who might be interested. Internet Explorer is the only browser that shows this page the way it was designed.  Your computer's settings may alter the display.)

April 24, 2004: Awarded "Best Web Site of the Year" by the Illinois State Historical Society "superior achievement: serves as a model for the profession and reaches a greater public"

link to homepage of Mr. Lincoln, Route 66. . .

Marquee Lights of the Lincoln Theatre, est. 1923, Lincoln, Illinois

  You can go home again.                                                             Email Leigh Henson at dlhenson@missouristate.edu.

The Peoria Journal Star's "Lincoln online"
by John O'Connell (July 5, 2004)

Section C6

Lincoln online

No matter where Leigh Henson resides, his boyhood home of Lincoln is only a mouse click away.

     Last July the 61-year-old former Pekin Community High School English teacher, who's now a professor of technical writing at Southwest Missouri State University, launched his Web site (www.geocities.com/findinglincolnillinois/), which tells the story of President Abraham Lincoln and the first town named in his honor.

     In Lincoln, the country's 16th president had practiced law, substituted as a judge, owned property and engaged in politics.

     In Henson's introduction, he writes that he created this Web site as a public service to educated viewers about the rich heritage and promising future of Lincoln--a community of 15,400 located 60 miles south of Peoria.

     He hopes the Lincoln Web site will promote civic pride among the town's residents and encourage nonresidents to visit his boyhood hometown.

     Henson is following in the footsteps of former Lincoln resident and literary figure William Maxwell, who often focused on the small Midwestern community in his novels and short stories. But rather than deliver his message in print, Henson chose the Internet.

     "I teach a graduate course in Web site design and development," Henson said in a telephone interview. "So this was good practice for me. Developing a Web site publication has distinctive advantages over traditional book publication. With a Web site, you can interact with the reader. A Web site also allows you to add and revise the content a lot easier.

     "My Lincoln Web site home page [now the Introduction] carries announcements of new additions. For example, in the chapter "The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln and the Founding of Lincoln, Illinois," I recently added a 4,000-word section about two lawyers, Samuel Parks and Lionel Lacey, with whom Abraham Lincoln collaborated while practicing law at the Logan County Courthouse from 1853 to 1860.

     "Parks became a  distinguished judge and was a key supporter of Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 Republican Convention that nominated Lincoln as its presidential candidate. I published rare photos of these attorneys in the Lincoln Web site."

     Henson's Web site is the equivalent of more than 800 printed pages with about 1,000 images . Some 7,000 viewers have visited the site. It also has attracted the notice of the Illinois State Historical Society, which recently named the site "best Web site of the year."

     "The Illinois State Historical Society has two levels of awards," Henson said. "The top level is Superior Achievement, which is the one my Web site won. Naturally, I'm very pleased with the award. It means recognition for several years of research on this project. And by winning the award, I got some publicity, which will mean more people will know about the Web site."

     Included in the Web site's content are Henson's memoirs of growing up in Lincoln as well as recollections of present and former Lincolnites.

     "Where I lived was within walking distance of the Postville Courthouse, where Lincoln practiced law riding the 8th Judicial Circuit," Henson said. "I also lived very close to Postville Park, where Lincoln played an early form of baseball. I remember many family picnics in that park. I grew up with both sets of my grandparents within walking distance of my home."

     In creating the Web site, Henson had the help of many native Lincolnites, including attorney Fred Blanford and Illinois Appellate Court Justice James Knecht of Bloomington.

     "In addition to recollections about growing up in Lincoln from Justice Knecht, I also included a short story by him about playing pool at Hickey's Billiards in downtown Lincoln on Chicago Street. Knecht's story tells how this pool hall was a real-world classroom that taught him a great deal about human nature. The story is as good as any Hemingway short story."

     In addition to writer William Maxwell, poet Langston Hughes also called Lincoln home for a time.

     "Hughes spent his eighth-grade year in Lincoln," Henson said. "In 1953, he wrote his eighth-grade teacher, Miss Ethel F. Welch, that he had never forgotten Lincoln. He told her that his writing career began in eighth grade when he was elected class poet."

     Among many published sources used to develop the site are quotations from Maxwell, who used people and places from Lincoln in many of his short stories.

     The Web site goes into great detail on the founding of Lincoln on August 1853. The town was located about a mile east of a community called Postville in the vicinity of the Chicago and Alton Railroad tracks. Postville would later be absorbed by the town of Lincoln.

     According to the Web site, the town's developers proudly asked their distinguished attorney, Abraham Lincoln (also the railroad's attorney), if he would agree to have the town named after him.

     Lincoln reluctantly agreed. But in Judge Lawrence Stringer's account in a history about Logan County, Lincoln cautioned the developers, "You'd better not do that, for a I never knew anything named Lincoln that amounted to much."

     The town, which eventually became the county seat of Logan County, was named for Abraham Lincoln long before he became a nationally known figure. Lincoln christened the town with juice from a watermelon.

     Henson's site also delves into the social and economic history of that community. There are extensive sections on local businesses and the influence of the railroad. There also is a section on Route 66, the historic highway that ran through Lincoln. The town is rich in remnants of what Henson calls "the world's most famous highway."

     "Both sets of my grandparents lived on Route 66," he said. "One set of grandparents owned a grocery store and a gas station right on Business 66. That highway was a good part of my youth."

     Henson also writes of such Prohibition-era figures as bootlegger Coonhound Johnny and of famous roadhouses like the Maple Club.

     A 1960 graduate of Lincoln Community High School, Henson earned his bachelor's (1964), master's (1969), and doctoral (1982) degrees in English from Illinois State University. He taught English at Pekin Community High School for 30 year before going to Southwest Missouri State University in 1994.

     Henson has two grown children, Kendra Henson, 31, and Brandon Henson, 27. Five years ago, he married Pat Hartman, who years earlier was a student in one of Henson's English classes at Pekin Community High School.

     Henson began his Web site as a way to learn more about his hometown and to show others what it's like growing up in a small town. He spent several years collecting photos, maps, and vintage postcards and doing research for the project.

     "It took two or three years and a lot of trial and error with computer technology to develop the Web site, he said.

     "A lot of people see Web sites as superficial. That doesn't have to be. I believe my Web site is significant in its content and purpose. I'm trying to educate readers about Lincoln as well as promote civic pride and increase heritage tourism.

     "I feel as technology advances, we will see more Web sites with substantial content used in education."

  Email comments, corrections, questions, or suggestions. 
Also please email me if this Web site helps you decide to visit Lincoln, Illinois: dlhenson@missouristate.edu.

"The Past Is But the Prelude"


The founding fathers of this town asked their attorney, Abraham Lincoln, for permission to name this new community after him, and he agreed.  On the first day lots were publicly sold--August 27, 1853--, Abraham Lincoln, near the site of the train depot, used watermelon juice to christen the town as Lincoln, Illinois.  It thus became the first town named for Abraham Lincoln before he became famous.