The Phoenix Block

The Phoenix Block (HM130X)

Location: Bloomington, IL 61701 McLean County
Country: United States of America

N 40° 28.779', W 88° 59.629'

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Inscription
"Herewith is a little sketch...there is not much of it...I suppose, that there is not much of me." Lincoln thus fulfilled Jesse Fell's 1858 request for an autobiography. Catching Lincoln as he emerged from the courthouse, Fell invited Lincoln to meet in his brother's law office on the second floor of the Phoenix Block. Lincoln had gained national attention because of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas senatorial election debates, a race which he lost. Fell told Lincoln that if his views became better known "...you can be made a formidable, if not a successful, candidate for the presidency." Lincoln protested, insisting the services of William A. Seward and Salmon P. Chase made them more deserving. They had, he insisted rendered greater service to the new Republican Party. Fell replied that they needed a man who could be elected, not one with more party service. Fell's travels, as corresponding secretary of the Republican Party, had convinced him that Lincoln was the most acceptable presidential candidate. By late December 1859, Fell had persuaded Lincoln to write his first autobiography.

Kersey Fell's desk was used in his Phoenix office, the site where Jesse Fell first asked Lincoln to write and autobiography. The autobiography would provide information about the man who so ably debated the nation's leading Democrat, Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas. The autobiography was enhanced by Jesse Fell, of Bloomington, and Joseph W. Lewis, of Westchester, Pennsylvania. Lewis' brother was the editor of the Bloomington Pantagraph. It was originally published in Pennsylvania and provided the nation with the first details of Lincoln's life.

"Mr. Lincoln is probably the fairest and most honest political speaker in the country," wrote the Bloomington Daily Pantagraph the day after he delivered his last major speech to a capacity audience in Phoenix Hall, before his nomination to the presidency. "Several of his home thrusts, last night, went through the sophisms and duplicities of the Shamocracy with a terribly damaging offset." This April 10, 1860 speech attacked Stephen Douglas's support of Popular Sovereignty.

Lincoln represented Dr. Crothers (at right) and Dr. Rogers in the "Chicken Bone Case," named for his use of such bones in his plea to the jury. Lincoln said to the plaintiff, "I would advise you to get down on your knees and thank your Heavenly Father...that you have any legs to stand on..." Dr. Crothers' office was in the building on the far left.

Details
HM NumberHM130X
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
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Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 at 4:58am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 330999 N 4482905
Decimal Degrees40.47965000, -88.99381667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 28.779', W 88° 59.629'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 28' 46.74" N, 88° 59' 37.74" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)309
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 101-199 W Washington St, Bloomington IL 61701, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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