Sunday, December 17, 2006

Two hours to kill

After dropping Pat off at a baby shower in the rural countryside near Metamora IL, and knowing I had two hours to kill before returning to pick her up, I headed to the historic small town of Metamora. Driving down the main drag, I saw a brown sign, which is a starting point for many of our adventures. It was pointing to the Metamora Court House Historic site which sits on the north side of the city square. The building was built in 1845 for the Eighth Judicial District. After the county seat was moved from Metamora, the building spent a short time as an opera house but in 1921 renovation began to turn it into the museum it is today. The first floor is devoted to local memorabilia and the second floor is the restored courtroom.

In keeping with the Christmas season, decorated trees were found throughout the building.

I could almost feel Lincoln's presence as I rounded the top of the steps and moved back in time. As I walked in, I stepped on the same flooring Abe must have paced as he argued more than 70 cases including two harboring slave cases and two murders. During one murder case, his client on trial for murdering her wife-beating husband was said to have asked him where she could get a good drink of water. He told her "Kentucky" and when the court recess was over, she was nowhere in sight.
The site Manager, Jean Myers, stands in the witness box. This was an English style court and the witness was to remain standing throughout the testimony. A spitbox was on the floor to his left because for a witness to be heard and understood, he must have an empty mouth devoid of any chewing tobacco. The above desk was once used by Lincoln and because of his long legs, a section was cut out for his comfort. The picture below shows that cut out section.
This musicbox is a larger version of one referred to in the Lincoln Presidential Museum as belonging to Lincoln's wife. I listened to it plan and it was as beautiful to hear as it was to see. So, if you find yourself with a couple hours to kill and Metamora is close at hand, I highly recommend a visit to the site. Tell Jean you saw it on the Em-T-nest Blog and perhaps he will let you listen to a tune similar to one Lincoln might have heard coming from his wife's music box.

With darkness fast approaching, I picked up Pat and we headed into E Peoria to view for the first time, the Festival of Lights. But that will have to wait for another post. Come back and see a blue whale ready to devour the city of Peoria.