State Stories

19

Lincoln RAILSPLITTERS

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Lincoln is the only town in the United States to be named for Abraham Lincoln before he became president. The future 16th President of the United States practiced law there from 1847 to 1859. The town was originally founded in the 1930’s, and was renamed in 1953 when it enjoyed a population surge after becoming a water refuel point for the stream train railway line that connected Springfield and Bloomington.

Lincoln High School is known as the Railsplitters (Railers for short) because Abraham Lincoln was known to split rails and use the wood to make fences. The town still hosts an annual Railsplitting Festival each September at the Logan County Fairgrounds.

The high school’s colors, green & red, were adopted because Abraham Lincoln used watermelon juice when he christened the town in 1853.

According to a newspaper article from 2007, the Railsplitters’ logo/mascot had been a log with an ax stuck in it with a Lincoln-inspired stovepipe hat sitting beside it. Former Football Coach & Athletic Director, Gene McDonald, came up with the idea in the 1960’s to make a human mascot based upon the Purdue Boilermakers’ mascot. The Lincoln Railerman was born.

There are also Lincoln High Schools with the Railsplitter nickname in Brooklyn, New York, Ypsilanti, Michigan, & Des Moines, Iowa.