Historic Tree Honored in Urbana
By Sean Powers
A long lost elm tree with a connection to Abraham Lincoln is being honored in Urbana.
Alderman Dennis Roberts has researched the tree for the last couple of years.
Even though it no longer exists, he and other city officials on Monday unveiled a commemorative plaque and a new elm tree near where the original tree once stood.
Roberts said Monday’s ceremony took place exactly 156 years to the day when Lincoln gave a speech under the tree, declaring his support for presidential candidate John Frémont.
“So many people in the early part of the 1900’s used to walk by here and talk about what a wonderful tree, and they would say to their children, ‘Remember this tree. The Indians met in council under this tree. Abraham Lincoln gave a famous speech under this tree,"’ Roberts said. "We’re just trying to rediscover our own past, and we should embrace it.”
When Lincoln gave his speech in Urbana, he had been out of Congress for several years, and was four years away from winning the presidency.
The recently planted elm tree marking the approximate location where he gave his speech is located at 606 East Main Street in Urbana.