History

Colonel Matthew Rogers constructed the building in 1831-1832. It was used as a post office and general store. The upper room was used as a banquet and public meeting room by the citizens of Athens.

Abraham Lincoln and his dedicated cadre of eight other Illinois legislators had won the General Assembly's approval to move the state capitol from Vandalia to Springfield. The nine men were called "the long nine" because they average six feet in height, uncommon in that day and age. Abraham Lincoln, the leader of the "long nine" was six feet four inches tall. Together the Long Nine's height added up to fifty four feet.

On August 3, 1837, the "long nine" legislators were honored at a banquet. The banquet was held upstairs in the Colonel Matthew Rogers Building. This historic building is now known as the "Abraham Lincoln's Long Nine Museum".

Current Building Activities

The building now houses an audio narrated diorama tour telling about Abraham Lincoln and the Long Nine. The carved characters in each diorama, handmade by Art Seiving, add dimension that bring to life the lessons learned in childhood history classes. The backgrounds of the dioramas were painted by Lloyd Ostendorf, the artist of the 6x9 oil painting in the banquet room of Lincoln toasting Athens. Visitors learn about each diorama scene with the touch of a button. The diorama tour, original flooring, original steps on display, banquet room, history room with many copies of Lincoln's handwritten letters, and the basement history room with Rogers' fireplace makes this museum unlike any other Lincoln museum.

The Colonel Matthew Rogers Building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and is also a member of the Looking For Lincoln Heritage Coalition. The museum is located at 200 South Main Street in Athens.

The museum is open June 1- September 1. Regular business hours are Tuesday through Saturday 1-5 pm (Central Daylight Time). The museum is closed July 4. With a confirmed appointment, other hours are available.