Lincoln is a city in Logan County, Illinois, United States. It is the only town in the United States that was named for Abraham Lincoln before he became president; he practiced law there from 1847 to 1859. First settled in the 1830s, Lincoln is home to two colleges and two prisons. The two colleges are Lincoln College and Lincoln Christian University. It is also the home of the world’s largest covered wagon and numerous other historical sites along the Route 66 corridor. The population was 14,504 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Logan County.
The town was officially named on August 27, 1853, in an unusual ceremony. Abraham Lincoln, having assisted with the platting of the town and working as counsel for the newly laid Chicago & Mississippi Railroad which led to its founding, was asked to participate in a naming ceremony for the town. On this date, the first sale of lots took place in the new town. Ninety were sold at prices ranging from $40 to $150. According to tradition Lincoln was present. At noon he purchased two watermelons and carried one under each arm to the public square. There he invited Latham, Hickox, and Gillette, proprietors, to join him, saying, “Now we’ll christen the new town,” squeezing watermelon juice out on the ground. Legend has it that when it had been proposed to him that the town be named for him, he had advised against it, saying that in his experience, “Nothing bearing the name of Lincoln ever amounted to much.”
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