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Mermaid House in Illinois

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message 1: by Gary (new)

Gary | 21 comments When Charles Dickens was touring the United States, he stayed in a little Inn called the Mermaid house in Lebanon, Illinois, a small quaint little town,close to the Mississippi River. Dickens was there to tour St. Louis, MO, which was one of the major cities at that time. Some friends of mine and myself are going on a private tour tomorrow night, (Sept. 3, 2010). Supposedly it's haunted,and the tour is being led by a ghost expert, that does hauntings looking for paranormal activity. I do believe in ghosts,and feel I've had a paranormal experience before.

I am just excited to walk in the same house that Charlie walked in. I visited the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow home in Cambridge , Massachusetts,and Charlie ate his one and only Thanksgiving dinner in Henry's home. I stood in the diningroom,and touched the chair Charlie sat in. So, I am psyched up to the max with excitement to spend time in the Mermaid house. Maybe I'll feel Charlie's ghost in my midst!!!


message 2: by Gary (new)

Gary | 21 comments Lebanon, Illinois
Best of IgoUgo
Mermaid House
Coach Bear from Trenton
February 13, 2003

Quote: My wife and I were extremely interested to see the famous Mermaid House, formerly a hotel (inn) in the 1800's. When we arrived in town, it was a surprise to see that the structure was so tiny. It is only about 20 feet by 30 feet in size. However, that does not negate the historical impact of this building. Every April, Dickens Days celebrates Charles Dickens' stay at the Mermaid Inn in 1842. It was built in 1830 as a hotel and the House has been restored by the Lebanon Historical Society. While visiting the Looking Glass Prairie, Dicken's documented his visit in "American Notes." Many believe that Dickens' "Christmas Carol" was also based on his stay.

Another famous visitor to the inn was Abraham Lincoln. The story is told that Lincoln made his mark in Lebanon during his first Lebanon visit. Lincoln, known to be a slow eater, was very clever about arranging so that he had enough time and food to eat. While in Lebanon, he missed his departing stagecoach because he had not yet finished eating his dinner. After the stage left without him, Lincoln commented to the owner of the Mermaid House and local law-enforcement, Lyman Adams, that the silverware was missing from the dining room. He implied that someone on the stagecoach might have taken the silver, sending Adams in pursuit of the stagecoach. When Adams escorted the stagecoach back to town, Lincoln had finished his meal so he boarded the stage and told Adams that his silverware could be found in the coffeepot.

As you visit the site today, you can arrange a tour of the building. There is no cost to see the Mermaid House nor is there a major problem in arranging the visit. Do not expect to walk in without prior arrangements, though. We spent about 45 minutes walking around the building, noting the stories of famous people who had visited the location, and thinking of the location as it might have existed over 150 years ago. I know that you will enjoy seeing this wonderful site from our recent past.

message 3: by Gary (new)

Gary | 21 comments Mermaid House Hotel, located on East St. Louis Street in Lebanon, Illinois, was built in 1830 by the retired New England sea captain Lyman Adams. He named it for the mermaids he reported seeing at sea.
The Mermaid House was visited by Charles Dickens in 1842 and received a mention in his book American Notes. [1]
The public-house was so very clean and good a one, that the managers of the jaunt resolved to return to it and put up there for the night, if possible. This course decided on, and the horses being well refreshed, we again pushed forward, and came upon the Prairie at sunset.[3]
Returning to Lebanon that night, we lay at the little inn at which we had halted in the afternoon. In point of cleanliness and comfort it would have suffered by no comparison with any English alehouse, of a homely kind, in England.[4]
The Mermaid House was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 4, 1975.

message 4: by Gary (new)

Gary | 21 comments While visiting St. Louis, Dickens expressed a desire to see an American prairie before returning east. Finding no shortage of men wishing to accommodate the great author, a group of 13 men set out with Dickens to visit Looking Glass Prairie, a trip of some 30 miles into Illinois. During the trip the entourage stayed at the Mermaid House, an inn in Lebanon, Illinois built by retired sea captain Lyman Adams in 1830. Dickens described the hotel in American Notes: "In point of cleanliness and comfort it would have suffered by no comparison with any village alehouse, of a homely kind, in England."


message 5: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) It is suprising that it takes an author to remark about a place and then it becomes a place where people must see it, and to be on the National Register of Historic Places, at that. It lends a certain cachet to places when authors are able to venture forth in this way.

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