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Carlinville Public Library

Site of the American House

Site of the American House: (300 West Main Street)

The American House was a luxurious Carlinville hotel, and Abraham Lincoln is believed to have stayed there. It opened in 1852, the same year that the Chicago & Alton Railroad reached Carlinville. 

A 1926 newspaper account located The American House as “on the north side of West Main Street about half-way between the public square and the (Chicago & Alton) depot.”  The hotel was formerly called the “Lafayette House” likely for the beloved French hero of the American Revolution. 

The hotel may have been four stories tall and featured fine dining, particularly on Sundays.  The site is not to be confused with the so-called American Hotel on East First South Street, across from the Post Office. 

A hitching rail still remains on Plum Street, which was near the back side of the hotel property.  Horses could be tied by either looping the rope on the rail or through the metal ring attached on the post.  This location is the only rail type hitching posts still in existence in Carlinville.  In 2023, 19 hitching posts still remain throughout the city of Carlinville.

NEXT: Home of Bela White: (311 West Main Street)