From Obscurity to Greatness: Illinois and Lincoln, 1830 to 1861

A Road Scholar Program by Kevin J. Wood


Jun 11, 2022


Heritage Village
249 W 2nd St
Lockport, IL 60441


Open to the public

Come hear Abraham Lincoln himself tell the story of how both he and Illinois rose from obscurity to greatness.

Kevin Wood as Abraham Lincoln small

In 1830, the young State of Illinois was the fifth smallest in the nation by population. It was a relatively unknown and mostly undeveloped land with an uncertain future, not necessarily destined for any measure of greatness. That same year, a young man arrived in Illinois and the same could be said about him: unknown, undeveloped, an uncertain future, and not apparently destined for much.

The next thirty years would see the transformation of both the state and the man, of both Illinois and Abraham Lincoln. By 1860, Illinois would grow to become the nation’s fourth largest state, full of energy and promise, a microcosm of the entire nation: a mix of northerners and southerners, native-born and immigrant, rich and poor, liberal and conservative, urban and rural.

These groups clashed at times but learned how to live and work together to further the interests of all. Abraham Lincoln would grow tremendously, too, to become known throughout the country as the President-elect of a nation in crisis, the leader who needed to keep a divided nation together without abandoning his principles.

Kevin J. Wood is very passionate and knowledgable about Abraham Lincoln. Audiences truly enjoy his portrayal of the sixteenth president of the United States.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Sandy Vasko at


It is held outdoors with plenty of room for social distancing. We do recommend that, There is seating in the amphitheater like setting. There are some picnic tables, but if you need to sit, bring a portable chair or a blanket to sit on the grass.

Learn more about Kevin J. Wood, this program, and how to book it.


Will County Historical Society