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Historical group will buy building

Learning center planned next to Manahan House

STERLING – Two years ago, a historical group bought the home where Abraham Lincoln stayed for a night in 1856.

On Tuesday, the Sterling-Rock Falls Historical Society’s board unanimously voted to buy the building next door, which it wants to use as a learning center.

The group needs to raise $85,000 by May 15 to buy the former C&E Glass building at 611 E. Third St.

As of Tuesday, the society was about $5,000 short of its goal, said Bill Abate, the group’s vice president.

“We are very close to raising the rest of the money,” Abate said. “We were close enough that we had a vote. We have another week and a day to raise the money.”

The building needs repairs, but the society has yet to determine what that will cost, he said.

The Lincoln-Manahan Home museum wasn’t big enough for educational programs for children and others, Abate said, so the society needed another place for such activities. The new building will be called the Lincoln Learning Center.

The society hopes to have space in the building for traveling exhibits pertaining to Lincoln as well as area historical events. A library and gift shop is also planned.

Lincoln stayed at the small house at 607 E. Third St. when he was in town to speak in support of John Fremont, the first Republican candidate for president. It was then the home of Whiteside County Sheriff William Manahan.

The historical group has restored the house, which depicts life in the mid-1800s.

To tour or donate

The Lincoln-Manahan House, 607 E. Third St., is open for guided tours from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in the spring and summer.

The Sterling-Rock Falls Historical Society restored the house, where Abraham Lincoln slept in 1856. The historical site depicts life in the mid-1800s.

Tours are free. Donations are welcome to help maintain the site.

Off-street parking is available.

Call the historical society at 815-622-6215 to donate to the effort to buy the former C&E Glass building and expand the museum, or for more information on the home.

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