Learning Lincoln On-line

Topic- Virtual Field Trip Through Coles County for Lincoln and Grant Sites

#7-- Charleston Railroad Depot-- Near Exact Location, but No Original Structure

Location:  this old depot has been gone for years.  It would have been located in the north side of Charleston on or near a street called Railroad Street.  In 1855, Railroad Street was what is now Jefferson Avenue.  A possible location could be the old Charleston Depot, located along the only tracks left.  This depot is the one that Abraham Lincoln, as President-elect would depart from a baggage car into deep snow.  The visit was in winter.  Some think that his trip to see his step-mother was a secret one, with no fan-fair.  Threats were being made on his life by Southern sympathizers, so Lincoln's where about was kept private on this trip.  Lincoln would have used the train, at least to nearby Mattoon, in his last years of practicing law in Charleston.  He would not practice in Coles after 1857. 

The location of the arrivals and departures of lawyer Abraham Lincoln and finally the President-Elect in 1861.

The railroad would arrive in Charleston in 1855.  That first train was of the Terre Haute to Alton line.  Mattoon would incorporate in 1855, and would host two large railroad lines. 

Up until 1855, Abraham Lincoln and all other visitors of Charleston would have to come by horseback or buggy.  Times changed for all with the arrival of the train in Charleston.

President-elect Abraham Lincoln getting ready to board the train to Mattoon, on his way to Washington D.C.


First Train into Charleston on the Terre-Haute & Alton Line

This mural depicts that depot and the train that would bring Abraham Lincoln into Charleston to be able to make a final visit with his step-mother at Farmington.  This mural depicts the President-elect getting ready to board for the return trip to Springfield.  He is wearing the red hat.

It has been said that the President-elect actually had problems getting a train clear through to Charleston, and ended up riding in the baggage


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