Location: La Salle St & W Jackson St
Artist: Don Gray
In artist Don Gray’s rendition, Lincoln and Douglas dramatically address the crowd gathered to hear them. News that the great Senator Douglas would appear in Ottawa caused a great sensation. Politics was more than a spectator sport for men of the day, and political rallies were festive events filled with medicine hawkers, hog roasts, parades and lively debate off the speakers’ platform as well as on it. Audience members heckled and cheered “their man” on the platform, and the orators gave back as good as they got in repartee! The unknown Lincoln would emerge from the seven debates a standard-bearer for the Republican Party, and the momentum would carry him to the White House (against his opponent Douglas) two years later. Also shown on the stand is Owen Lovejoy of Princeton, brother of Elijah Lovejoy, abolitionist, legislator and friend of Lincoln.
In 1919, women got the right to vote. A pivotal moment. “Revolution” overlooking the
confluence of the Fox and Illinois Rivers, is a tribute to Ottawa’s, and America’s tenacious women exploding into independence. Our ladies oversee the heart of Ottawa, remembering bustling speakeasies, hotels, and trolleys. With John Pugh’s Trompe L’ Oeil mural, we witness a revolution in time and culture. Two flappers perched on the ledge of our infamous Zeller Inn toast passersby. Luminous green radium gas oozes and swirls behind. “Poppy”, by ‘The Mother of American Modernism’, Georgia O’Keefe, epitomizes the feminine revolution. Rotating downward, peering at us through misty revolving windows are two heroic Radium Dial women. The first from New Jersey, then Ottawan Charlotte Purcell, both poisoned by radon. Charlotte with a handful of unswerving Ottawa Radium Dial women laid the foundation for today’s worker protection laws. Look closely and you will find hidden images within.
A splendid example of Greek Revival architecture, the central portion of the then-State Supreme Court building was completed in 1860 at a cost of $29,630. The building was built to house the State Supreme Court, which initially met in Ottawa, Mount Vernon and Springfield. Today Ottawa is the seat of the Third Appellate Court District, which serves 21 northern Illinois counties.l
In the center of the park a memorial commemorates the location of the first Lincoln-Douglas debate on August 21, 1858, with heoric sized bronze statues complete with a reflecting pool. Discover all the treasures hidden in this beautifully maintained park. Come to the Visitors Center to receive a Heritage Tour Book.