Washington Park. Ottawa, Illinois

   This park was created by the Illinois Michigan Canal Commission in 1831.  It occupies one block on the edge of downtown Ottawa, Illinois. 
     The park is probably best known as the site of the first Lincoln Douglas Debate in 1858.  The actual debate site is marked by a large boulder with a commemorative plaque.  This was dedicated in 1908.  At the actual debate, there were over 10,000 people present.

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Commemorative Boulder Lincoln Douglas Debate

    In the center of the park is a fountain and a reflecting pool with bronze statues of Lincoln and Douglas.  The statues were were created by Rebecca Childers Caleel under the guidance of the city’s historic preservation commission.  The statue of Lincoln is 11 feet; Douglas is 9 feet. They were dedicated in September, 2002.

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Lincoln Douglas Fountain in Washington Park

     The park also contains an 1875 Civil War Memorial and canons from the Civil War, World Wars 1 and 2.
     In 1978, Washington Park and the surrounding area were designated a historical district by the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

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