The Sullivan area is a great place to experience the history of rural Illinois--from Abraham Lincoln to the one-room schoolhouse to the two-story outhouse.
Abraham Lincoln came to Sullivan regularly when he was an attorney riding the circuit with the courts (hence the name, Circuit Court). He later visited Sullivan when running for the U.S Senate against Stephen Douglas. Though not part of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, they came to Sullivan on the same day, and townspeople almost came to blows. For a wealth of information on the history of Sullivan and Moultrie County, see the site created by former resident Eden Martin.
A 40-minute drive away in Lerna is the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, home of Lincoln's father and step-mother, Thomas and Sarah Bush Lincoln. The site includes a reproduction of the Lincolns' two-room cabin and a working living history farm that demonstrates 1840s rural life in Illinois.
Daily life typical of the rural Midwest can be seen at the Heritage Center of the Moultrie County Historical and Genealogical Society. Hours are 1-5 p.m. on Mondays and Saturdays or by appointment (call 217-728-4085). The Heritage Center also has an extensive library for genealogical research. MCHGS is also restoring the one-room Center School, which is located at the Great Pumpkin Patch.
And, no visit to the Sullivan area would be complete without a trip to the two-story outhouse in rural Gays, southeast of Sullivan. Yes, it really worked!