Toulon, Illinois

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Toulon is a town in Stark County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,400 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Stark County.[1] Toulon is part of the Peoria, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area, and is the northwestern terminus of the Rock Island Trail State Park.

Contents

Geography

Toulon is located at 41°5′40″N 89°51′44″W / 41.09444°N 89.86222°W / 41.09444; -89.86222 (41.094495, -89.862218).[2]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.9 square miles (2.3 km²), all of it land.

History

Founded in 1841, Toulon was named after an existing town in Tennessee. The Tennessee town was named after Toulon, France.

Both Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas passed through Toulon during their 1858 senatorial campaign. The Lincoln and Douglas debates are a well known part of American Political history. While no actual debate took place in Toulon, both men did speak there before the 1860 election.

Douglas arrived on October 5, 1858, and was the guest of the hotel kept by B.A. Hall, which was Democratic headquarters. There were no railroads yet in Stark county, the "Little Giant" came in an open carriage, despite the rain, and was accompanied by Lieutenant Governor Payne, of Ohio. At the hotel he was greeted by a large number of enthusiastic Democrats and was welcomed by Martin Shallenberger in a short but appropriate address, to which Mr. Douglas responded briefly. After dinner he was escorted to the public square, where a platform had been erected for the speaker. So dense was the crowd that some time was spent in getting through it to the speaker's stand, many crowding forward to shake Mr. Douglas' hand. Although hoarse from his long campaign and the rain was falling, he soon warmed to his subject and the multitude stood for an hour or more listening with rapt attention to his utterances.

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