Lincoln Watermelon Monument - Atlas Obscura

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Lincoln Watermelon Monument

This colorful monument commemorates a little-known story from the life of Abraham Lincoln. 


There are dozens of towns, cities, and counties in the United States named in honor of Abraham Lincoln, but only one has the honor of having been named after our 16th president before he was president.

What would become the town of Lincoln, Illinois, was planned and surveyed from 1852-1853. Abraham Lincoln provided legal services to the town’s planners. It is unknown who suggested that the town be named after him, but apparently Lincoln initially discouraged the idea, purportedly stating “nothing bearing the name of Lincoln ever amounted to much.”

On August 27, 1853, the first lots of land in the new town were sold. Abraham Lincoln was on hand to officially christen the town, which had been named in his honor. As Lincoln did not drink alcohol, the juice of a watermelon was sprinkled on the ground to christen the town. The Lincoln Watermelon Monument now commemorates this forgotten and slightly odd moment in American history. 

Know Before You Go

The Lincoln Watermelon Monument is located adjacent to the Lincoln, Illinois, Amtrak station. 

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