About Carlinville & Macoupin County,
The history of Carlinville includes many current landmarks and
architectural features that stand today as hallmarks of eras gone
by, yet still provide insights for discovery and learning. Macoupin, the county’s namesake,
was a favorite food source for local Indians, which matches old
accounts that this area was wetland, with natural lakes, and
vast amounts of growing macoupin.
Before there was Route 66, Illinois Route 4 was the fully paved,
“slabbed” two-lane Mother Road between Chicago and St. Louis. U.S.
Route 66 used Route 4 from 1926 until 1930, which ran directly
through Carlinville, providing a symbol of freedom, restlessness,
and the quest for new opportunity, Historic Route 66.
As we explore the many opportunities for discovery throughout
Carlinville, our journey begins with the Picturesque Town Square
with buildings dating back to the early 1800s. Carlinville’s
Historic Square is the crown jewel of the large historic district
that has been on the National Register of Historic Places in
Illinois since 1976. Dine and shop where Lincoln once
walked, with brick-paved streets and Victorian cast-iron
storefronts. It is the only Town Square on Illinois Route 66
that went completely around, and today provides access to two
major state highways.
In 1973 the Macoupin County Historical Society purchased the
Anderson Mansion for use as the Society’s museum. Annual
festivals in May and September feature tours of the museum as well
as arts, crafts, collectibles, entertainment, and home cooked
foods. Both festivals include displays by the Antique Agricultural
Association with antique farming equipment and demonstrations of
old farming methods that include threshing. Group tours of the
museum and grounds are available by reservation; contact the
Macoupin County Historical Society, 920 W Breckenridge Street,
Carlinville, IL at (217) 854-2850.
Designed in 1867, the Macoupin County “Million Dollar” Courthouse
began as a $50,000 project supported by bonds and taxes, that
through a series of political and social scandals construction was
halted when the cost grew to $1.3 million. The Renaissance Revival
masterpiece boasts an exterior constructed from gold-colored
blocks of stone and a portico with 40-foot Corinthian columns.
Inside you’ll find elaborate woodwork, including finely carved
walnut seating; a judge bench of Italian marble; and ornately
decorated rooms with arched doorways. Abraham Lincoln occasionally
practiced law in Macoupin County (although it was at the current
courthouse’s less glamorous predecessor). Court documents with his
signature are on display in the courthouse.
Macoupin County Jail, in service from 1869 to 1988, is a Gothic
Revival stone structure that has leftover Civil War cannonballs
embedded within the walls to prevent jail breaks. There is a
local tale of a man who shimmed through the very narrow slit
windows to escape.
The Standard Addition/Sears and Roebuck Mail Order Houses include
the largest U.S. collection of 156 mail order homes. Built
in 1918 for the mineworkers of the Standard Oil Company, the homes
represent a lovely trip back in time, yet the homes, were
surprisingly modern in their construction and design.
Historical Marker - This large stone commemorates the spot where
Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech on August 31, 1858, when he ran
against Stephen A. Douglas for U.S. Senate. Visitors can find the
stone in front of the United Methodist Church at the corner of
South Broad and East First South Streets.
Guided tours of the historic courthouse, Sears Homes and Step-On
Bus Tours are available by contacting the Carlinville Chamber of
Commerce Tourism Committee at (217) 854-2141 or email at CarlinvilleTourism@gmail.com.
2018 Route 66 Miles of
Possibility Conference | October 25-28, 2018 |
Blackburn College | Carlinville, Illinois
Contact Carlinville Tourism Director Deb
Young at firstname.lastname@example.org for Carlinville Tours and local info
and/or call Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau
at 1-800-258-6645 for more information.
©2018 Route 66 Miles of