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Mt. Pulaski Courthouse
© Abraham Lincoln Online

Mt. Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site

113 S. Washington Street
Mt. Pulaski, Illinois

Take a Lincoln Law Career Photo Tour

Before Lincoln became president his law practice took him to county courthouses in the old Eighth Judicial Circuit of central Illinois. Although his law office and home were located in Springfield, he would travel the circuit for a total of about six months of the year, often by horseback.

Only two original courthouses in this district where Lincoln tried cases still stand today: this one and another in Metamora, Illinois, near Peoria. You will find the Mt. Pulaski site 12 miles southeast of Lincoln near the intersection of routes 121 and 54.

This restored brick Greek Revival building, shaded by the town square trees, will catch your eye with its rich red color and white trim. It's easy to find because the town water tower also is on the square. Built in 1848, it served as a county courthouse until 1855. It doesn't take too much imagination to picture the lawn filled with farmers and townspeople of Lincoln's day, drawn to the area as much for social reasons as legal or business ones.

As you enter the building's wide doorway and make your way upstairs, you will see the courtroom familiar to Lincoln. Here he argued, won, and lost cases during the days court was in session.

The site is open year-round free of charge Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m. It is closed on major holidays. For more information call 217/792-3919.

Courtroom Interior on Second Floor
© Abraham Lincoln Online

Click here for a map

Related Links

  • Mt. Pulaski Courthouse
  • Mt. Pulaski Hosted Lincoln and Other Presidents (SJ-R)
  • Lincoln's Advice to Lawyers
  • Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices
  • Lincoln Legal Career Highlights
  • Lincoln's Notes for a Law Lecture
  • Looking for Lincoln

    Related Reading

  • Billings, Roger and Williams, Frank J., editors. Abraham Lincoln, Esq.: The Legal Career of America's Greatest President. University Press of Kentucky, 2010.
  • Davenport, Don. In Lincoln's Footsteps: A Historical Guide to the Lincoln Sites in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. Revised edition, Trails Books, 2002.
  • Dirck, Brian. Lincoln the Lawyer. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007.
  • Donald, David Herbert. Lincoln's Herndon. DaCapo, 1989.
  • Duff, John J. A. Lincoln, Prairie Lawyer. New York: Rinehart & Co., 1960.
  • Fraker, Guy C. Lincoln's Ladder to the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2012.
  • Frank, John P. Lincoln as a Lawyer. Americana House, 1991.
  • Hill, Frederick T. Lincoln the Lawyer. Fred B. Rothman & Co., 1986.
  • Lincoln, Abraham. The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases. University of Virginia Press, 2008.
  • Matthews, Elizabeth W. Lincoln as a Lawyer: An Annotated Bibliography. Carbonale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1991.
  • McDermott, Stacy Pratt. The Jury in Lincoln's America. Ohio University Press, 2012.
  • Spiegel, Allen D. A. Lincoln, Esquire: A Shrewd, Sophisticated Lawyer in His Time. Mercer University Press, April 2002.
  • Steiner, Mark E. An Honest Calling: The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2006.
  • Stowell, Daniel W. In Tender Consideration: Women, Families, and the Law in Abraham Lincoln's Illinois. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002.
  • Stowell, Daniel W., editor. Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases. University of Virginia Press, 2007.
  • Townsend, William H. Lincoln the Litigant. Lawbook Exchange, 2000.
  • Walsh, John Evangelist. Moonlight: Abraham Lincoln and the Almanac Trial. St. Martin's Press, 2000.
  • Whitney, Henry C. Life on the Circuit with Lincoln. Lawbook Exchange, 2001 reissue.
  • Woldman, Albert A. Lawyer Lincoln. Boston and New York: Little, Brown, and Co., 1937.

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