Ottawa / LaSalle County

Abraham Lincoln was no stranger to Ottawa and LaSalle County. He tried court cases in the community, was mustered out of the militia during the Blackhawk War, travelled on the Illinois & Michigan Canal and also served as a I&M Canal Commissioner. His most notable visit to Ottawa and LaSalle County took place on August 21, 1858. The first of seven Lincoln-Douglas senatorial debates was held in Ottawa’s historic Washington Square. It was estimated that 20,000 spectators gathered to witness this famous debate. Today, the site is now marked by a boulder and plaque, and a fountain topped by bronze statues of the “Railsplitter” and “The Little Giant” forms the centerpiece of the beautifully landscaped square. Retrace Lincoln’s footsteps in Ottawa and LaSalle County.
For more information, contact the Ottawa Visitor Center at 815-434-2737 or visit their web site at
© Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition 2020 | #1 Old State Capitol Plaza, Springfield, IL 62701 | 217-782-6817