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McLean County

McLean County was formed late in 1830 out of Tazewell County. It was named for John McLean, United States Senator for Illinois, who died in 1830. Bloomington is the county seat of McLean County and is adjacent to Normal, Illinois, and is the more populous of the two principal municipalities of Bloomington-Normal.

Originally known as North Bloomington, the town was incorporated as Normal in February of 1865. The name was taken from Illinois State Normal University, a teacher-training institution located there, though the school has since been renamed Illinois State University after becoming a general four year university. Lincoln, himself, helped in drafting the legal documents that would allow the university to exist at all!

Within McLean County, Lincoln’s home away from home, were many of Lincoln’s friends, who ran the gambit of personalities. Jesse Fell, the publisher; Asahel Gridley, the cantankerous banker; and Judge David Davis, one of Lincoln’s nearest and dearest friends, all lived here and were involved with Lincoln’s life for a great many years.

Today in McLean County, Bloomington-Normal area is a vibrant community, home to 165,733 people who exemplify the values of the Midwest and our remarkable quality of life. Their location is at the junction of Interstates 55, 39, and 74 which makes getting there easy and they are just a few hours from Chicago and St. Louis.

Visitors are encouraged to experience one of any of their outstanding hotels, unique restaurants or exciting leisure attractions such as the Children's Discovery Museum, the David Davis Mansion or the McLean County Museum of History. Enjoy premier entertainment at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, the U.S. Cellular Coliseum or Illinois State University's Braden Auditorium.

Extremely proud to be the headquarters for State Farm Insurance, Mitsubishi Motors North America, and COUNTRY Financial, their higher educational institutions include Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan University, Heartland Community College and Lincoln College-Normal.

By looking at the pictures below, you can get an idea of McLean County in Lincoln’s time and as it stands today. Maybe you’ll find something unexpected when you go Looking for Lincoln in Bloomington-Normal and all of McLean County!



Following the route of Lincoln on the Eighth Judicial Circuit is easy, to learn more about the history of the courthouse in this county, just click here!

You may also want to consider a stop by the following sites of interest!

David Davis Mansion
The McLean County Museum of History
The Evergreen Memorial Cemetery
Bloomington-Normal Constitution Trail

For more information on McLean County, please visit: