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 Ave, 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, this one 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 Tavern/Inn was built in 1835 by relatives of Ulysses S. Grant  The fact that two tavern/inns being 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 Avenues and charged the following tolls: 

37¢ - Carriage pulled by two horses.
25¢ - Carriage, cart, or buggy pulled by one horse. 
10¢ - Horse and rider. 
 4¢ - Head of cattle. 
 3¢ - Sheep. 

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

Many notable people passed through Fullersburgincorporated as a village in 1851, including Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. Lincoln spoke from the Old Hotel & Tavern porch in 1858 on his way west to Ottawa. 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 was published, Fullersburg had emerged from the frontier and was acquiring 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 important 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.


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