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Chicago officials re-commemorate site of Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 presidential nomination

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Plaques noting the former site of the Sauganash and Wigwam hotels have returned to Lake and Wacker

Image courtesy of Chicago Department of Planning and Development

City Hall officials came together yesterday on the 157th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s election to install a pair of markers commemorating the Windy City site where the nation’s 16th president clinched the nomination at the 1860 Republican convention near the intersection of Lake Street and Wacker Drive.

Image courtesy of Chicago Department of Planning and Development

Gifted to the City of Chicago by the Daughters of the American Revolution in the 1900’s, the 30- by 50-inch brass plaques also note the location of Chicago’s historic 1831 Sauganash Hotel and its 1860 successor—the Wigwam. Designed by Chicago Water Tower architect W. W. Boyington, the latter was the country’s first structure built specifically for a presidential convention as well as the first to feature on-site telegraph machines.

After spending the last two decades inside City Hall, the historical markers were affixed on opposing sides of a stone pylon located on Wacker Drive’s pedestrian median. Chicago Aldermen Edward Burke and Brendan Reilly along with Department of Planning & Development Commissioner David Reifman were on hand for the re-dedication.

“As a student of Chicago history, I am pleased to see these beautifully refurbished plaques rededicated at this historic site,” said Burke, who also co-authored the book Inside the Wigwam, Chicago Presidential Conventions 1860–1996 with historian and professor R. Craig Sautter. The plaques were removed from the intersection in the late 1990s during a construction project.