Thursday, July 21, 2011

Those Places Thursday - Appellate Court House - Abe Lincoln & Clara Barton Stopped Here

My hometown of Mt. Vernon, IL is located in Jefferson County with a population of 15,277 according to Wikipedia.  One of the jewels of this town, is the Appellate Court House, a building which I have seen all my life.  It's one of those things you just take for granted and is located at 14th and Main; a beautiful stone building with twin wrought iron stairways, the 5th District Appellate Courthouse was built around 1857 and is famous for when Abraham Lincoln came to town to try a court case for the Illinois Central Railroad. It took three weeks to bring the iron stairways for the front of the building from St. Louis to Mt. Vernon via ox-cart.

On February 19, 1888 the "Great Cyclone" of  Mt. Vernon struck and destroyed over five hundred buildings, killed thirty citizens and injured several hundred other residents of Mt. Vernon.  An appeal went out for help to relief committees and medical providers.   Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross came to town to help the citizens of Mt. Vernon and an emergency hospital was housed in the Appellate Courthouse under her supervision.  Today the courthouse looks much as it did one-hundred and fifty years ago when it was first constructed.

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