Lincoln Bicentennial Project

Abraham Lincoln Portrait unveiled in the Tenth Circuit

To commemorate Illinois’ bicentennial, the Illinois Judges Association and Illinois Judges Foundation boards, the Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois State Historical Society approved a joint project to oversee and pay for the installation of a magnificent photograph of lawyer Abraham Lincoln in every one of the state's 102 counties by the end of 2018.

The photograph of the beardless Lincoln was taken at the Old State Capital in Springfield by well-known photographer Alexander Hesler on June 3, 1860 for Lincoln’s 1860 presidential campaign. Historians consider Hesler’s portrait one of the best taken of Lincoln during his pre-presidential years. 

Putnam County, this past spring, on February 9th,became the first county in the 10th Circuit to display Hesler’s portrait.  The portrait was presented by retired Circuit Judge Scott Shore. Stark County unveiled their portrait on July 27th.  Presiding Judge Stephen Kouri indicated, the canvas is displayed in the courtroom for all to see.  Later, in early fall, on September 4th, Marshall County’s Resident Circuit Judge, Michael McCuskey, unveiled their portrait which is located behind the judge’s bench in the courtroom -This image captures Lincoln as he prepares to transition from trial lawyer to presidential candidate, noted Judge McCuskey.  Chief Judge Paul Gilfillan assisted by Judge Kevin Lyons and Judge Kate Gorman officiated Peoria County’s ceremony on October 17th-It is truly an honor to be part of this historic endeavor to celebrate one of Illinois’ most famous lawyers during the bicentennial, said Chief Judge Gilfillan.  Peoria’s portrait will hang for permanent display at the doors of Courtroom 210, allowing high visibility for the public and all county citizens reporting for service as jurors. Just one week later, on October 23rd, Abraham Lincoln’s Portrait graced Tazewell County Courthouse and is displayed on the 1st floor for all who enter the courthouse to see.  We are proud to be a part of this historic effort to honor one of our nation’s greatest leaders in the state that he called home. It is particularly fitting that we honor him in this county, where he argued many trials, said Michael Risinger, judge of the 10th Judicial Circuit.  Hesler’s historic portrait of Lincoln now is on display for all to see in all 5 of the 10th Circuit Counties.  

As Lincoln himself once said, “I like to see a man proud of the place he lives.  I like to see a man live so his place will be proud of him.”