Central Illinois Travels


I took a short trip around central Illinois to track down four more county courthouses.  The area of South-Central Illinois is flat and rather boring.  The main features are the U of I, corn, more corn, and some soybeans. 

Piatt County – Monticello


The turn of the 20th century court house of Piatt County is a nicely maintained brick and concrete structure in the middle of Monticello’s town square.  For a courthouse, it is understated with minor near the roof and several fake columns above the building entrances.


The grounds the courthouse sits one is lifted about a foot or two off the square and nicely lined with trees and well maintained lawn.


Plain entrance spiffied with a few potted plants.


The near ubiquitous plaque of Lincoln in that pops up in Central Illinois.


The downtown geared towards the areas upscale residents and has stores for the occasional tourist.  Even the few vacant buildings are well maintained.


Steeple Gallery is a coffee house/gallery off the square in a converted church.


Monticello likes converting its local churches.  This is Monarch Brewing Company.

The town seems to be a bedroom community for Champaign-Urbana given how upscale and well kept the town seemed to be.


A random horse head statue.  Like the rain stain the marble the metal.



Bement is a small town south of Monticello.  I stopped because the entire town was out in force celebrating the Old Glory Festival.


When milling through the festivities, I notice the Bryant College Historic Site where Lincoln and Doulas discussed how to run their debates in 1858.  Such a tiny abode for even well off residents in rural 1850s America.

Moultrie County – Sullivan


The Moultrie County courthouse was built around the same time the Piatt County one above with its brick and stone features.  It uses better materials with the façade a rich yellow marble likely taken from quarries closer to the Illinois River.


The dome is a bit out of place compared to the rest of the building.  It is sided in metal with several working clocks at the top.


The grounds feature several war monuments and this fountain.


Keeping it real.


An impressive Civil War Statue.


The square is contains many and vacant buildings that haven’t been updated recently.  The bank has to neat walk up teller.  I love the font of the signage.


Once outside of town, I saw several Amish and Mennonites through out the backroads.


A Hippy Memorial in Arcola.  Very unique considering that the area is somewhat conservative.

Douglas County – Tuscola


The Tuscola County Courthouse sits in a residential area of town.  This was unique in my travels because the usual placement of government buildings are either in the town square or someplace just of the main road through town.


It is built more or less like a US Post Office.  It screams that there are government institutions herein.  The west entrance as a cool glass windows above and written about the building in a Greek lettering font.


The town felt more run down than most.  My guess is that the residents relocated towards the I-57 interchange.  Across the street is an abandoned church.

Champaign County – Urbana


The Urbana County Courthouse is a mix of old and new.  The section containing the clock tower was built of red stone around 1901.   It looks like it should be a part of U of I just down the road.


The newer section is a ugly attempt at keeping the decorum.  The plaza in front of the northern section is non-descript and plain.


The bell from the old courthouse sits unloved behind the parking garage on the west side of the building.


The town center is a mix a upscale eateries and boutiques and run down buildings.  This is a picture of abandoned Urbana Hotel and Conference Center attached to the dying Lincoln Square Mall.