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7 Pieces Of History Near Litchfield, IL

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Litchfield, Illinois is a small town located in Montgomery County. While it may not be the most well-known location in Illinois, it has seen its fair share of historical events throughout the years. Here are seven of the most significant moments in history that have taken place near Litchfield.

1. The Assassination of Elijah Lovejoy
Elijah Lovejoy was an abolitionist and newspaper editor who was murdered by a mob in Alton, Illinois in 1837. His printing press was destroyed four times before he was killed, and he became a martyr for the abolitionist cause. Lovejoy was born in Albion, Maine, but moved to St. Louis, Missouri before settling in Alton. Litchfield is approximately 60 miles from Alton.

2. The Civil War
Although there were no battles fought in Litchfield or the surrounding area, Illinois played a significant role in the Civil War. The state provided the Union army with over 250,000 soldiers, more than any other Northern state. Camp Butler, a training camp for Union soldiers, was located in Springfield, about 30 miles from Litchfield.

3. Route 66
Route 66, also known as the Mother Road, passed through Litchfield on its way from Chicago to Los Angeles. The road was established in 1926 and was an important route for travelers for several decades. Litchfield's Ariston Cafe, which opened in 1924, is the oldest continuously operating restaurant on the Mother Road.

4. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
The Lincoln-Douglas debates were a series of seven debates held in 1858 between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, who were both running for the U.S. Senate seat from Illinois. One of the debates was held in nearby Alton, Illinois. Douglas won the seat, but the debates helped launch Lincoln into the national spotlight, paving the way for his election as president in 1860.

5. The Davis-Garland Murder Trial
The Davis-Garland murder trial took place in Litchfield in 1903. The case involved the murder of William Garland, a wealthy farmer, and his wife, by George Davis, a hired hand on their farm. The trial attracted national attention and was covered extensively in the media. Davis was found guilty and sentenced to death.

6. The Milestones of Mauvaise Terre
Mauvaise Terre, which is French for "bad land," was an area located near Litchfield that was known for its difficult terrain. In the early 20th century, a group of local residents organized a series of automobile races known as the Milestones of Mauvaise Terre. The races were popular in the area and drew large crowds.

7. The Coal Industry
Coal mining was an important industry in the Litchfield area for many years. The first coal mine in the region was established in the 1870s, and the industry continued to grow throughout the 20th century. The Litchfield Coal Company was one of the largest employers in the area for many years. Today, there are few active coal mines in the area, but the industry played an important role in Litchfield's history.

In conclusion, Litchfield and the surrounding area have seen a variety of historically significant events throughout the years. From the assassination of an abolitionist to the heyday of Route 66, this small town has a rich history that is worth exploring.
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