Governor Duncan Mansion
The Governor Duncan mansion is located just one mile away from the center of Jacksonville, at the corner of Webster and Lafayette. It is especially significant for being the official Illinois State Governor’s mansion, not just Duncan’s mansion, as there was no mansion in the state capital, Vandalia, at that time. Construction began on this house back in 1833, but it would not be completed until 1835, the year after Joseph Duncan was elected Governor of Illinois. The home is of Georgian architecture with a definite Colonial design. The roof, in particular, was sourced from the American colonies from the mid-18th century. During the mid-1830’s this house was the place to be. Joseph Duncan, born in 1794, had served in the war of 1812 and had been elected to Congress in 1826 before becoming the governor of Illinois. The building’s design was inspired from the Washington D.C home of Matthew St. Clair Clark, who served on the U.S house of representatives for many years. Of course, as it was quite the spectacle, Duncan hosted many a social gathering there. These people include Daniel Webster and his wife, Alexander Hamilton, and Colonel John J. Hardin. But by far the most famous person who showed up on the Duncan doorstep was none other than Abraham Lincoln. According to the form that was submitted to the national register of historic places, Abe Lincoln became associated with the governor when he was serving as the Sangamon county representative in the Illinois legislature. They apparently became very close, with Lincoln having voted for him three times during Duncan’s career in the government. Sadly, Duncan passed away in 1844, which means that he wasn’t able to do the same for him. It also meant that he wouldn’t be able to see Lincoln when he gave his speech in Beecher hall in 1859. However, it is probable that Lincoln visited Mrs. Duncan during his visit, as she did not die until 1862. In 1865, the same year that Lincoln was assassinated, The Duncan Family rented out the property to The State of Illinois, which turned into the first Illinois Institution for Idiotic children. After that, the building got listed on the national register of historic places in 1971. It still stands as one of the most Iconic historical locations in the central Illinois area.