Washington Historical Society

Washington Illinois

The Footprints

Richard Smith's Dry Goods
According to B.C. Bryner, in his book "Lincoln in Peoria, Illinois", Lincoln attended many political meetings at Richard Smith's Dry Goods Store on the Square (now Hollands Mercantile) from 1843-1858. Sadly, at this time, no other evidence  has been found to support this, leaving this connection unconfirmed. 

Today, this location houses Holland's Mercantile, an old fashion candy store that seeks to keep history alive in Washington (IL).
Hungerford Hotel
When on the campaign trail for a Senate seat in 1858, Lincoln made a stop in Washington after a freight train ride from Peoria. He continued on his way to Metamora by way of a 58-procession. Returning that night to Washington, he gave a speech in front of what was then the Hungerford Hotel. His speech went late into the night, forcing Lincoln to stay the night in Washington. He left early that next morning at 5am and two days later, he was in Galesburg (IL) debating Stephan Douglas. 

This site is no longer home to the Hungerford Hotel and part of the lot now belongs to the BP Gas Station. 

Washington Square
Traveling the Judicial Circuit during 1840's & 1850's, Lincoln often traveled by horse, or horse & buggy. During this time, he was known to have represented some Washington clients and gave political speeches in the town. His first horse "Old Tom", as well as his second horse "Old Buck", were likely to have been tied on the Washington Square during these visits. Later in his career, Lincoln mostly traveled by train and stagecoach. 

Home of Haven Pierce
Lincoln was known to have represented many different clients from Washington during his time on the circuit. One such client was Haven Pierce, who was supposedly a part of the "Washington Boys" group. This group of 21 men was accused of destroying Pearl's Saloon, just west of the Square, after Washington man David Kelso was believed to have died after consuming whiskey from the saloon. Haven Pierce hired Lincoln for $25 and was later acquitted. 

While historic in its own right, the home that currently sits on this property is not the original home of Haven Pierce, although the lot is the same.
Original Presbyterian Church
Known as a community meeting place in Washington, Lincoln spoke at the original Presbyterian Church in support of Presidential Candidate Henry Clay in 1844. Clay lost the election, but this event marks an important time in Lincoln's political career, showing that even in the 1840's he was delivering political speeches. Later on in his career, Lincoln would successfully defend church member J. Randolph, who was accused of harboring slaves.

While the site remains the same, the church has undergone many remodeling phases and reconstruction, with several new buildings having once occupied this lot.