Skip to Main Content

Ottawa, Illinois: Lincoln vs. Douglas Fountain

During the 1858 senatorial campaign, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas had seven one-on-one debates. The first one was on a platform now occupied by a fountain and statues of the two men. Diminutive Douglas looks half-scale next to Lincoln. A marker notes Lincoln lost the election, then campaigned against Douglas for the presidency and won -- but only when other candidates "took votes that probably would have gone to Douglas."

Jackson St., Ottawa, IL
The fountain is in the center of Washington Park, a wooded square between the north and southbound lanes of Hwy 23, between Jackson and W. Lafayette Sts.
Save to My Sights

Visitor Tips and News About Lincoln vs. Douglas Fountain

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Historical marker.

Lincoln vs. Douglas Fountain

Nice stop and park. I would suggest going to Steve's Bakery, just a half mile away, and getting a delicious snack to enjoy in the park. Great history lesson if you read the sign!

[K, 06/17/2019]

Debate site and time capsule.

Lincoln vs. Douglas Fountain

Lovely square -- shaded, pretty flowers and well kept gardens when we were there in June. Several other monuments, as noted before, with another marking the Lincoln - Douglas debate on a boulder with a time capsule marked.

[Kathy & Ron NxNE, 06/11/2015]

Do not open until 2058.

Lincoln vs. Douglas Fountain.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate Monument

Located in the middle of Washington Park is a fountain monument featuring Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. This monument marks the place where the first Lincoln-Douglas debate took place on April 21st during their campaigns for Illinois State Senate in 1858. There are also other memorials in the park, including a WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam War Memorial.

[Mandy, 12/11/2004]

Lincoln won the debate but lost the Senate election to Douglas. Two years later Lincoln won the Presidency but again, in Ottawa, got fewer votes than Douglas. So we're not really sure who the statue is celebrating -- maybe both of them. June 2013: Photo added.

Roadside Presidents
Roadside Presidents App for iPhone. Find this attraction and more: museums, birthplaces, graves of the Chief Execs, first ladies, pets, assassins and wannabes. Prez bios and oddball trivia. Available on the App Store.

Nearby Offbeat Places

Statue of the Radium GirlStatue of the Radium Girl, Ottawa, IL - < 1 mi.
Peter Toth Big HeadPeter Toth Big Head, Ottawa, IL - < 1 mi.
Boy Scout Founder Grave MonumentBoy Scout Founder Grave Monument, Ottawa, IL - 1 mi.
In the region:
Moser Tower and Millennium Carillon, Naperville, IL - 46 mi.

Latest Tips Across Roadside America

Catch up on the latest discoveries from the road.

Explore Thousands of Oddball Tourist Attractions!

Unique destinations in the U.S. and Canada are our special obsession. Use our attraction recommendation and maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Create and Save Your Own Crazy Road Trip! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

Illinois Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum, Gibsland, Louisiana (May 20-26, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings