Friday, July 2, 2021

Abraham Lincoln stayed at the Old Hotel and Tavern in Fullersburg Illinois, in 1858.

The Hotel & Tavern was located on Ogden Avenue , East of York Rd. (then Walker Road) and West of Elm, in what is now Hinsdale, Illinois. Hinsdale was first called Brush Hill, then renamed Fullersburg for the Ben Fuller family in 1851.

The main east-west road through the Brush Hill settlement was improved as early as the 1840s, and it became known as a "turnpike" with toll gates at intervals to help defray the cost of improvements and maintenance. These tollgates lingered on through the era of the plank road bubble.

A second tavern (and Inn) was built in Brush Hill on the north side of the road, a little east of the Cass Street intersection. It was called the Grand Pacific, and later as the Fullersburg Tavern (finally known as the "Old Hotel and Tavern"). It is said the Inn & Tavern was built in 1835 by relatives of Ulysses S. Grant. The fact that two Inns & Taverns are required in such a small town is ample evidence of the density of the horse-drawn and oxen-drawn traffic that must have passed through.

Because the Naperville Road (Ogden Avenue) was the main trail west from Chicago, it was the first road to be covered with wooden planks by the South Western Plank Road Company, and consequently called the Southwestern Plank Road. The road was completed in 1850 and extended from Bull's Head Tavern at Ogden and Madison in Chicago, to Brush Hill (later Fullersburg, Illinois). 

The Southwestern Plank Road was a one-lane road, eight feet wide and constructed of planks three inches thick. A tollgate was located at Joliet and Ogden
10¢ - Single Horse & Rider. 
37¢ - Two Horse Team.
25¢ - Carriage, Buggy or Cart Pulled By One Horse. 
45¢ - Cart Pulled By Two Horses or Oxen.  
04¢ - Head of Cattle. 
03¢ - Head of Sheep. 

The plank road was later connected to another plank road at Fullersburg.

Many notable people passed through Fullersburg, which was incorporated as a village in 1851, including Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.

Abraham Lincoln visited Fullersburg while campaigning for the Illinois House of Representatives in 1854. The exact date is not known, but it likely occurred sometime between June and November of that year.

Lincoln stayed at the Old Hotel and Tavern, later known as the "Fullersburg House," on September 14-15, 1858, as part of his campaign for the U.S. Senate against Stephen Douglas. William "Uncle Billy" Green, the hotel owner, was a strong Lincoln supporter. Lincoln was on his way to a Republican rally in Macomb, Illinois.

While there is no documented record of Lincoln giving a formal speech at the hotel or elsewhere in Fullersburg, it's possible he had informal conversations or interactions with townspeople during his stay.

Some sources claim that Lincoln gave a speech on the afternoon of September 15 at Fullersburg's town square.

By 1860, Fullersburg had become one of the leading communities of DuPage County. Its buildings included 15 to 20 houses, two hotels, three taverns, a post office, a blacksmith shop, a school, a cemetery, and a grist mill.

It is a fact that Fullersburg was one station on the underground railroad offering slaves refuge and transfer, and John S. Coe was the man, or at least he was one of those who served as a station master.

By 1874, when an atlas of the county and its principal towns were published, Fullersburg had emerged from the frontier and acquired the aspects of a residential village. 

The Old Hotel and Tavern was converted into an Antique store between World War I and World War II. Eventually, it was torn down.

Though Brush Hill was never incorporated in its own name, the area is historically significant to the development of Hinsdale and Oak Brook, Illinois.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.


  1. Replies
    1. The Old Hotel and Tavern was converted into an Antique store between World War I and World War II. Eventually, it was torn down.


The Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal™ is RATED PG-13. Please comment accordingly. Advertisements, spammers and scammers will be removed.