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Carlinville Area Interests

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Historic Downtown
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Illinois since 1976, Carlinville’s beautiful historic downtown area is comprised of historic buildings and a charming gazebo, the focal point of the community. A significant building in downtown Carlinville is the Loomis House, completed in 1870. The Loomis House opened as a 50-room hotel and now houses a number of businesses.

Macoupin County Courthouse
The building and grounds of this impressive structure fill an entire city block. Rising 190 feet, the great silver dome is visible from miles away in any direction. The architecture is no less impressive inside, where the massive, hand-carved judge’s chair in the main courtroom is so heavy it requires its own track to move it into position. The 2000-pound bronze doors to the courtroom are so perfectly balanced they can be opened and closed by the mere touch of a finger.

After the Civil War, the small brick courthouse on the Square was deemed too small for a growing community. To design a more fitting structure, commissioners selected the well-known architect E.E. Myers, who also designed state capitols in Michigan, Colorado and Texas. When construction costs escalated beyond the original estimate of $50,000, the county issued more bonds. Completed in 1870 at a staggering cost of $1,342,226, the “Million Dollar Courthouse” was arguably the largest county courthouse in the United States at that time. Just 40 years later, 20,000 citizens gathered for a two-day event to celebrate the burning of the last bond and the retirement of the debt.

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When the Illinois State Preservation Agency examined the Courthouse records in the 1990s, they found over 3,000 documents bearing the signature of Abraham Lincoln. Although the originals are now in Springfield, some copies are on file in the Macoupin County Courthouse.

The building is open for public tours.

Macoupin County Jail
Built in the late 1860s, this uniquely designed jail, constructed to hold 17 prisoners at once, stayed in operation until 1988. The jail is now open for tours. For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce at (217) 854-2141.

Macoupin County War Memorial
Situated on the grounds of the Macoupin County Courthouse, this memorial is dedicated to the brave Macoupin County residents who served in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Sears Homes/Standard Addition
Carlinville boasts the largest concentration of Sears Homes in the United States. In 1917, Standard Oil opened two mines in the area, causing a vast increase in population. An immediate housing crisis ensued.

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Executives at Standard Oil turned to the Sears & Roebuck catalog to provide quick, permanent housing in the community. The oil company ordered kits for 156 build-it-yourself houses (enough to fill a 12-block area) which were shipped by train to Carlinville. While many homes have been upgraded, certain distinctive features have remained intact over the years, making the Standard Addition neighborhood a point of interest for tourists.

Beaver Dam State Park
This 750-acre park, located a mere seven miles from Carlinville, affords numerous recreational activities, including fishing, picnicking, hiking and camping. In the winter months, visitors engage in ice fishing, ice skating, sledding and cross-country skiing.

Historic Route 66
One of the most well known routes in the U.S., Historic Route 66 passes directly through the center of Carlinville. Designated in 1926, the route was comprised of approximately 2,400 miles of road from Chicago to Los Angeles, passing through eight states altogether. Route 66 existed until 1985 when it was decommissioned and replaced by interstate highways. Retracing the original Route 66 passageway through Carlinville is easy and we welcome all explorers.

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