Lincoln's Legacy

Photo Credit: Photo by Justen Arnold

Quincy, IL -- The two-year celebration of Quincy community's relationship with two 19th century politicians who debated in the Gem City 151 years ago ended today with a Legacy Festival.

Over the past 24 months, Quincy has looked back at the October 13th, 1858 debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in Quincy, and the impact that it had on Quincy and the nation.

The grand opening of The New Interpretive Center across the street from the original debate site in Washington Park was the highlight of today's ceremonies.

"Obviously a lot has gone on the last two years and maybe it seems like it's the end to something, but it's not it's the beginning of something wouldn't you say?"

Chuck Scholz says,"Exactly this is not the end this is the beginning and we have a dynamic process here the exhibits will change people will continue to be able to learn more about the influence of Abraham Lincoln had on us as Quincians and or entire country, but also the influence Quincians had on Abraham Lincoln and played a big part in that story."

Chairman of Quincy's Bicentennial Committee, Chuck Scholz, told us the new center is great for everyone...from tourists, locals, and especially school groups.

He says the location is ideal because it's right across from the original debate site.

In the new center you can find a walking map of all the storyboards and all the historical sites around Quincy related to both Douglas and Lincoln.

You can also read about Douglas' life in Quincy and his time as a judge here as well as Lincoln's impact on the area.

Scholz says the center ensures that 50 to 100 years from now people will *still* being learning about Lincoln's legacy and his Quincy connections, but also his worldwide impact.

"Well the main focus is the exhibit that has been donated by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, but we also have a lot of local things with the Browning desk. Orville Browning's desk that was used by Abraham Lincoln, we have a very informative exhibit on slavery. Quincy had more sites on the underground railroad than any town in Illinois. So we're a big part of the abolishment movement."

The festival also included the planting of two trees, one which was a linden tree planted in what's said to be the exact spot Lincoln and Douglas debated.

The tree is significant because records show a giant linden tree stood near the site of the debate in 1858.

The original tree was cut down in 1932, and pieces of the tree where given away.

Scholz now has one of those pieces.

There was also the burial of the "Connect with Lincoln" time capsule, filled with essays and pictures, artifacts and mementoes of Quincy's two-year celebration.

The time capsule will be exhumed in 2059, the Bicentennial of Lincoln's birth.

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