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Monticello [1] is a city in Central Illinois.


File:Welcome Sign.jpg
Welcome to Monticello

Monticello's first resident was George Haworth. Haworth came to the area in 1822 to serve as a U.S. liaison agent to local Native American tribes. Haworth did not remain, but in 1829, James A. Piatt purchased Haworth's small log cabin. Soon more settlers arrived.

In 1837, residents decided to form a new town which was christened Monticello – after the home of Thomas Jefferson. Monticello officially became a town on July 1, 1837. Townsfolk held a celebration on July 4.Monticello continued to grow as the population increased over the next decade.

A new county was established on Jan 27 1841: Piatt County - named in honor the first permanent settler, James A. Piatt. As it was the only town in the area at that time, Monticello was named the county seat. The county began legal functions on April 5, 1841 in the "Old Fort." In 1843, the first courthouse was built on land donated by William H. Piatt.

Monticello's star resident arrived in 1885. Dr. William B. Caldwell came to practice medicine in Monticello but his homemade mixture of senna and pepsin brought Monticello to a level of national prominence. The Pepsin Syrup Company was founded in 1893, and became the leading employer in the city for decades until its closure in 1985.

National Historic Districts

Monticello Courthouse Square was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on Nov 5, 2009, by the National Park Service, for its marvelously intact architecture, original historic features, as well as its association with the history of commerce and government in the community. Visitors to the square will be welcomed by the unique architectural elements and a friendly atmosphere while enjoying shops, galleries and restaurants.

Two residential areas are on the National Register of Historic Places. These areas are North State Street and South Charter Street. More information on these areas is available in the What to See section.

Get in[edit]

Monticello is located just off of Interstate 72 at the junction of CR-5 and IL-105. It is approximately 150 miles southwest of Chicago, 150 miles northeast of St. Louis, and 60 miles west of Springfield.

Get around[edit]

Monticello Bus Service, Inc. is the premier luxury charter coach service provider for the central Illinois area. They offer charter service for trips originating in the Midwest that have either local or national itineraries.

Piattran Piatt County Transportationis a transportation service provided by Piatt County Government for the residents of the county. It enables those who do not drive or who do not have their own transportation to get to medical appointments, go to work, go to school, do shopping, or to travel both within, and to some areas outside the county. Contact: 217-762-7821

See[edit][add listing]

Abe Lincoln Monticello was part of the 8th Judicial Circuit that Lincoln served in from 1847-1859. The Monticello Railway Museum, announced the formal dedication of the Looking for Lincoln wayside storytrail signs in conjunction with their 2009 Railway Days event. The Looking for Lincoln story trail sign, located by the downtown Wabash Depot, tells the story of how Abraham Lincoln promoted and contributed to the expansion of railroads in Piatt County, Illinois. The story illustrates Abraham Lincoln's contributions, vision and promotion of building and expanding not only the network of railroads within Illinois, but in linking the west and east coast of the United States with the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, which was completed on May 10, 1869.

Allerton Park and Retreat Center Named one of the 7 Wonders of Illinois by the Illinois Bureau of Tourism, Allerton offers 1,500 acres of beautiful, outdoor surroundings. With National Natural Landmark and National Register of Historic Places designations, it is a destination unlike any other. The park offers formal gardens, 14 miles of hiking trails, 30 acres prairie, 10 acres of meadow, and over 100 outdooor sculptures. The century-old Georgian-style mansion is used a retreat center hosting a variety of conferences, weddings and events. [2]

Monticello Sages Homecoming festivities – Every year, Monticello High school has a parade celebrating their homecoming festivities. . For more information call the high school office at 217.762.8511 ext. 1210.

Millionaire Row & Historical Homes

Monticello Railway Museum

The founders of the Pepsin Syrup , a notable patent medicine company, contributed to the wealth and construction of mansions on North State Street Historic District that became known as "Millionaire's Row. The South Charter Street Historic District represents some of the city's first growth outside of the Original Town plat and was basically the first of the city's premier residential addresses. In contrast to the North State Street Historic District, the architecture of the South Charter Street Historic District is more varied and is generally less high style.

Monticello Railway Museum Monticello Railway Museum is an all volunteer organization the operates train rides May through October every Saturday and Sunday. There are also display cars housing a great collection of railroad memorabilia and include pullman cars and a post office car. The train ride is about a 50 minute 7 mile round trip ride. Contact the museum for more information regarding the events below – [3] – 992 Iron Horse Place Monticello, IL 61856 Phone: (217) 762-9011

  • Throttle Time sessions are conducted each Summer and Fall. For a $100.00 donation to the Museum, a participant has the opportunity to spend 30 minutes observing and learning the operation of one of the Museum's diesel locomotives and spends the following 30 minutes running the locomotive under the supervision of one of the Museum's engineers.
  • School Days is an opportunity for school children to ride a full-sized diesel powered train and see displays of America's railroad heritage. Students will take a round trip train ride on vintage coaches for approximately 30 minutes. You can see an optional Operation Lifesaver presentation as well as tour railway cars which may include post office car, sleeping cars, and caboose.
  • Throw Momma on the Train - Treat Mom to a relaxing ride with her family on the vintage train. Mothers ride FREE when accompanied by a child with a paid ticket!
  • Father's Day Weekend - Dads ride FREE when accompanied by a child with a paid ticket!
  • Fireworks Special - Avoid the traffic in the park. Ride the train from downtown Monticello to watch the fireworks!
  • Railroad Days - Come ride our vintage passenger and freight trains on the former Illinois Central and Illinois Terminal trackage.
  • Ghost Train and Haunted Boxcar - All ages can enjoy the train ride through Camp Creek Hollow with a stop at Cemetery Road, but only the brave should check out in our Haunted Boxcar!
  • The Polar Express - Read along with the story as the train makes its round-trip journey to the North Pole. Meet Santa and enjoy caroling, hot chocolate, surprises and a treat. And, for those who believe, a special gift for each child. Children are encouraged to wear their pajamas!
  • Lunch on the Train with Santa - A Monticello tradition that draws visitors from all over Central Illinois. Ride the train and receive a kids sack lunch plus an individual visit with Santa. Sponsored by Monticello Chamber of Commerce. [4]

Do[edit][add listing]

1st Friday on the Square On the 1st Fridays it's Shopping, Dining and more on the beautiful Courthouse Square in downtown Monticello. On the 1st Friday of each month, Monticello invites you to visit the restaurants, cafes, galleries and shops while enjoying a variety of activities.

Barn Tour Every year, Piatt County celebrates its rich agricultural history with a historic tour of barns and area history. This is a self-guided driving tour and the area featured varies each year. The tour, sponsored by the Piatt County Museum, is the second weekend of October.

Chamber Christmas Parade Presented by the Monticello Chamber of Commerce is a great tradition. Floats, bands, and Santa arriving on a firetruck plus much more - it is a fun event for the entire community. The parade is the first Saturday in December.

Chocolate Fantasy The Annual Chocolate Fantasy, held just days before Valentine's Day, will be filled with great ideas for all of the special people in your lives. Participating businesses offer sweet chocolate treats to everyone with a ticket.

Farmer’s Market On North State Street, join Monticello’s Main Street Farmer's Market featuring many of your favorite vendors selling seasonal fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers, breads, and more. The market is late June through September on Thursday afternoons.

Garden Walk An Evening in the Garden - Annual Garden Walk. Tour a variety of gorgeous private gardens, a special tea plus a public garden is featured. Monticello Chamber of Commerce (217) 762-7921 - [5]

May Market You know it's Spring when the Monticello Main Street May Home & Garden Market is around the corner! There are plants, herbs, garden containers, garden accessories, and much more. Event location is Courthouse Square.

Monticello Celebration Main Street’s Annual Monticello Celebration is filled with a great variety of Art and Craft vendors throughout the downtown square. Don’t miss the very popular Pet Parade and Contest or Kid’s Activity Area including a Bounce House, Giant Slide, Obstacle Course and Giant Choo-choo. Enjoy music and great food.

The Monticello Country Club A private golf course, located in Monticello has majestic oaks, meandering creeks and ponds providing an excellent setting for this challenging course.

Trailblazers Rodeo and Parade Enjoy cowboys, bronco riding, calf roping and so much more. Presented by the Piatt County Trailblazers this annual event is a huge draw with a parade on Saturday morning. The event is traditionally the 4th weekend in June.

For more events visit[]

Lincoln Connection[edit]

Monticello Courthouse

Monticello was part of the 8th Judicial Circuit that Lincoln served from 1847-1859. Two Lincoln Historical markers commemorate the route in Piatt County. One is located at 1675 N (Champaign Co) & CR 0 East at the junction of Champaign County and Piatt County. The second markers is at the junction of Piatt and DeWitt Counties at CR 300E & 2100N. These markers were erectecd by the DAR in 1922.

Monticello is a Looking for Lincoln Story Trail community with 3 Looking for Lincoln Story Trail signs. One is located at Monticello Railway Musuem telling the story of Lincoln's connection to the railroads and the importance they played in developing Piatt County. The storyboard located at the downtown Wabash Depot tells of the trials of traveling in Lincoln's day both with weather and politically. The third storyboard located in downtown Monticello in Rotary Park illustrates the history of the Piatt County Courthouse and Lincoln's practice there.

The Lincoln marker on Rt. 105 1 mile south of Monticello marks the locations Lincoln and Douglas meet to discuss planning their famous debates.

Bryant Cottage, a state historic site is located, in Bement, 7 miles south of Monticello on Rt. 105. This is the site that Lincoln and Douglas met to plan their debates. Bryant Cottage is also home to three Looking for Lincoln Story Trail signs. These signs tell the story of Bement going to war, Douglas-Lincoln Debates, and the Bement Connection.

Allerton Park[edit]

Allerton Park

Named one of the 7 Wonders of Illinois by the Illinois Bureau of Tourism, Allerton offers 1,500 acres of beautiful, outdoor surroundings. With National Natural Landmark and National Register of Historic Places designations, it is a destination unlike any other. It is also on the American Institute of Architects’ List of 150 Great Places in Illinois. The Park is a nature center and retreat center located near Monticello, Illinois on the upper Sangamon River. The park and manor house were laid out and built by industrialist Robert Allerton, who gave the complex to the University of Illinois in 1946. It has been described as "a vast prairie turned into a personal fantasy land of neoclassical statues, Far Eastern art, and huge European-style gardens surrounding an English Tudor-style".

This picturesque setting includes: • Extensive formal gardens • More than 100 outdoor sculptures and garden ornaments • Natural areas including the Sangamon River, floodplains, lowland and upland forests, a meadow and a 30-acre demonstration prairie • 14 miles of interpretive hiking trails • A century-old, Georgian-style mansion with reflecting pond serves as a retreat center

An ideal place for public enjoyment and outdoor recreation, Allerton is also a distinctive venue for meetings, conferences and retreat, as well as the perfect place for weddings and special events.

Celebrate Nature[edit]

Valentine Park - Located on northeast Cemetary Road (County Forest Preserve Park) This quiet park features a 1/2 mile nature trail and is a relaxing spot to picnic and birdwatch.

Lodge Park - Located 1 1/2 miles north of Exit 166 I-72. County Forest Preserve Park. 500 acres along the Sangamon River offers primitive camping, picnic tables, playground equipment. It is the site of the annual fireworks celebrations on July 3.

Area Campgrounds Lodge Park - (217) 762-4531 Friends Creek Park (rural Cisco) - (217) 795-8361

Agri-Tours: Piatt County and Monticello have a long agricultural heritage with some of the richest farmland in the world. Corn and soybeans are the major crops but the area is also home to berry, apple, pumpkin, and Christmas tree farms. Tour group itineraries are available.

Community Flair[edit]

Monticello Sages

Homecoming festivities – Every year, Monticello High school has a parade celebrating their homecoming festivities. Friday afternoon, the homecoming parade begins from the high school promptly at noon. Friday evening's festivities will begin in the high school Media Center with the Hall of Fame. At 6:45pm, the festivities continue as everyone proceeds to the football field. For more information call the high school office at 217.762.8511 ext. 1210.

Willow Tree Missions Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing food relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States. Willow Tree Thrift Store has recently become a local drop off point for donations. They have clothing for men, women & children. All the items are donated by the community and returned to the community. Willow Tree is located at 351 W. Monroe - 217-762-2350.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Any Frequency Music store selling new and used CD's and vinyl. Audio and video equipment sold and installation is available. (217) 762 - 7700

Blue Ridge Backwoods Archery specialty shop - great selection of bows and accessories. 3 indoor target ranges. (217) 762-3123

Boka Shoppe [6] (florist) – Boka Shoppe is a family owned and operated business proudly offering traditional, personal, unique and thoughtful floral arrangements and gift's. (888) 871-4811

Cabbage Rose Floral Market [7](florist)Fresh inviting floral boutique featuring designs for all occasions. (217)762-1951

Cedar Lake Gardens & Gifts [8] Cedar Lake Gardens & Gifts offers a unique gift shop including anything from candles, garden gnomes, faires, and fountains. The nursery is one of the best around and has what any gardener or landscaper needs to create an oasis. (217) 762-9977

Celebrations (Wedding Invitations) Celebrations offers a full line of personalized accessories and invitations that will add a special touch to any wedding reception. Featured is a selection of party goods, scrapbooking and balloons for any occasion.(217) 762-3252

Cowbells & Moontales (toy shop) Books, stuffed animals, special games and much more.

Clothes Encounters Adult consignment clothing shop for women, men and juniors.215 W. Washington. (217)762-7494

Paper Crane Gallery & Studio Art studio and gallery. (217) 762-2686

Pearls & More [9] (jewelry) Pearls & More strives to offer amazing jewelry in a variety of metal and gem combinations at unbelievable prices. (217)762.2587

Prarie Fire Grass [10] (art) Prairie Fire Glass is a professional glassworking studio. You can peruse original art glass creations while enjoying live glassblowing demonstrations. (217) 762-3332

Out of the Blue [11] (art) A family owned business, Out of the Blue carries a large selection of first quality Polish pottery from three factories in Boleslawiec, Poland. Out of the Blue also has some select pieces of crystal from Germany and carries a few kitchen textiles and gourmet food mixes. (217)762-7173

Simply Irresistible Specializing in gently used furniture & home decor. 108 E. Livingston. (217)817-0555

Skinner Coachhouse Antiques (antiques) General antiques, collectibles, lighting, restoration and repair. Call for appointment. Northeast Corner Of S. Market St. and Sage Dr. (217) 762-8425

Spirit of Monticello [12] (Apparel)Spirit of Monticello features fashion designers Santiki, Bella and Blue Sky! Partnering with their sister business Spirit Screen-printing, Spirit of Monticello can take your custom design to the next level in apparel! (217) 762-7747

Steeple Gallery Coffeehouse [13] Custom framing, gifts and coffeehouse serving Dean's Beans organic coffees. Wifi available.(217)762-2924

These Four Walls [14] Offering a modern twist on timeless design. Large selection of art, accessories & beautiful home furnishing. 101 S. State St. (217)762-3500

Village Wardrobe [15] (Consignment) Featuring: Gently used children’s clothes, toys, and equipment. This children's consignment boutique carries clothing ranging in sizes from infant through 12. They also have 185 varieties of glass bottled-sodas. (217)896-2880

WackyNackies [16] – Featuring: Gourmet Foods, Coffee drinks, Handbags, Home Décor, Jewelry & Accessories, Children’s Gifts, and Bath & Body. (217) 762-2022

Ziemer Gallery Gallery and studio featuring original watercolors. Custom framing. (217) 762-9786

Eat[edit][add listing]

The Brown Bag


El Toro
  • The Brown Bag Deli Restaurant‎ - 212 w Washington st., Monticello, IL‎ - (217) 762-9221‎
  • Main Street Pub of Monticello‎ - 113 West Main Street, Monticello, IL‎ - (217) 762-9414‎
  • Monticello Red Wheel‎ - 803 Iron Horse Pl, Monticello, IL‎ - (217) 762-9829‎
  • Three Ravens‎ - 108 S Charter St, Monticello, IL‎ - (217) 762-3333‎


  • Casey's Carry Out Pizza‎ - 301 S Market St, Monticello, IL‎ - (217) 762-8121‎
  • Filippo's Pizza & Italian Food‎ - 200 S Market St, Monticello, IL‎ - (217) 762-2921‎
  • Monical's Pizza‎ - 707 W Bridge St, Monticello, IL‎ - (217) 762-8484
  • Pizza Hut - 777 W Bridge St, Monticello, IL -(217) 762-8585


  • Bangkok Thai - 106 S. Charter, Monticello, IL - (217) 762-2341
  • China Star‎ - 400 W Center St, Monticello, IL‎ - (217) 762-3888‎


  • El Toro - 112 South Charter Street, Monticello, IL - (217) 762-2800
  • Los Toros‎ - 1204 Bear Ln, Monticello, IL‎ - (217) 762-3621‎


  • Pies By Inge‎ - 212 W Washington St, Monticello, IL‎ - (217) 762-9221‎


  • Steeple Gallery Coffeehouse - 102 E. Lafayette, Monticello, IL - (217) 762-2924


  • Dairy Queen - 101 W.Main (217)762-7641
  • Hardee's - 309 N. Market St. (217)762-9911
  • McDonald's - 306 S. Market St. (217)762-4910
  • Subway - 122 N. Charter St. (217)762-9039

Main Street Pub

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • The Corner Tavern - 219 W Washington St, Monticello, IL‎ - (217) 762-4411‎
  • East End Tavern‎ - 116 E Washington St, Monticello, IL‎ - (217) 762-9087‎
  • Monticello Bowl - 1412 N. Market St, Monticello, IL - (217) 762-5726

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Allerton Park and Retreat Center 515 Old Timber Rd. Monticello, IL - Advance reservations needed. (217)762-7011

Best Western Monticello Gateway Inn‎ - 805 Iron Horse Pl, Monticello, IL‎ - (217) 762-9436‎

Foster Inn‎ - 1414 N Market St, Monticello, IL‎ - (217) 762-9835‎


  • Monticello Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 313, +1-217-762-7921 (toll free: +1-800-952-3396, ).  edit

The Monticello Chamber of Commerce offers wide opportunities for business promotion and tourism networking within the great community of Monticello, Illinois. The Chamber is the voice of the businesses and strives to promote tourism opportunities for all.

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