An archaeological dig in Bloomington has uncovered part of a courthouse where Abraham Lincoln once worked. The excavation in front of the McLean County Museum of History revealed the footprint of the 1836 courthouse that stood on the site. Greg Koos, the museum’s executive director, says Lincoln frequently practiced law in that courthouse from the time it was built until he ran for President in 1860.
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“Almost every year, twice a year, through that period of time,” Koos said, “and so it became a very important place for him to do legal business.” That courthouse was replaced by a larger building in 1868. That replacement burned down in 1900, after which the current structure was built. The footprint of the Lincoln-era courthouse had been lost with the later construction.
Koos says the artifacts uncovered during the dig will have to be turned over to the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, but he hopes to have them returned to be put on display in Bloomington.