According to the Pantagraph, Abraham Lincoln, whose bicentennial will be celebrated later this week was kind of a cut-up.
Few people who dine on cheeseburgers at the Dairy Queen know Abraham Lincoln almost burned down a building on that site in Monticello, Illinois.
That’s why Sue Gortner, director of the Monticello Chamber of Commerce, had a sign erected across the street, explaining Lincoln was a regular visitor to Monticello’s Tenbrook Hotel when he tried cases at the nearby courthouse. The 9-foot sign tells the story of how Lincoln, known for his keen sense of humor, almost burned down the hotel during an apparent prank.
With the help of Lisa Winters, librarian of the Monticello’s Allerton Public Library, Gortner discovered several stories that revealed Lincoln’s character, including his irrepressible sense of humor.
While staying at the Tenbrook, the first hotel in Monticello, Lincoln told some children that they should heat their inflated pig bladder, a precursor to a balloon, in the hotel’s fireplace. When the bladder exploded, hot coals were spread across the room. When Lincoln tried to sweep up the coals, the broom caught on fire.
Nice to know the Great Emancipator was also a regular guy (and that the building went on to become a Dairy Queen?).