Build Your Own Historic Illinois Buildings



Welcome to a fun website for kids of all ages who want to build HO scale models of actual Illinois historic buildings. You can download your own Build Your Own models parts, print them onto your 8.5”x11” cardstock and then cut out and glue together these full color miniature buildings.


In honor of the 2009 Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth you can now Build Your Own HO-scale cardboard models of actual historic buildings associated with Abraham Lincoln. Funded by the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission in association with Old State Capitol Foundation and the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office, the downloadable model parts for ten Lincoln Site models are available below.

Also check out the Build Your Own Main Street Models. The first one of those, The Tinsley Building was home to Abraham Lincoln’s law office.


The Pioneer Life Summer Camp participants at New Salem construct models of Abraham Lincoln’s store in the images shown above left and center. Four Build Your Own Lincoln Site (BYOLS) models and one Build Your Own Main Street (BYOMS) model are displayed above right. The Build Your Own models vary widely in difficulty with the larger models, such as the Old State Capitol (which requires over 40 sheets of cardstock) being the most challenging. Smaller models, such as the BYOLS Thomas Lincoln Home, or the Jenson Store BYOMS model are recommended for first-time builders.



Located on the Lincoln Highway, eight miles south of Charleston, the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site preserves the last farm and home of Abraham Lincoln’s father and stepmother, Thomas (ca. 1778-1851) and Sarah Bush Lincoln (1788-1869). The Lincoln family moved to the farm in 1837 and after Abraham had established his residence in Springfield.  Although Lincoln never lived here with his father and stepmother, he stopped here to bid farewell to his stepmother on his way to the White House in January of 1861. Thomas Lincoln and Sarah Bush Lincoln are buried nearby in Shiloh Cemetery.



The "Old State Capitol" served as the state capitol and a center of Illinois political life from 1839 to 1876. During this time, it frequently provided a stage for the political discussions of Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861) and Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) as they contested a U.S. Senate seat and the Presidency. In 1858, Lincoln delivered his famous “House Divided” speech in the building's Representatives Hall. He frequently worked in the "Old State Capitol" as lawyer and politician. During Lincoln's last term in the Illinois House of Representatives he served in the building, and in 1860, he used the governor’s rooms as a headquarters for his presidential campaign. Following Abraham Lincoln's assassination, the "Old State Capitol" had the honor of being the President’s final laying-in-state during May 3rd and 4th, 1865.  Illinois politicians including President Barack Obama continue to draw upon and honor the spirit of Lincoln as represented by the Old State Capitol. President Obama announced his candidacy for President in front of the Old State Capitol in 2007.


Approximately twenty miles northwest of Springfield, Illinois, Lincolns’ New Salem State Historic Site is located at the site of New Salem village, where Abraham Lincoln spent his early adulthood, from 1831 to 1837. The six years Lincoln spent in New Salem were pivotal in his development as a politician and a man. Although Lincoln never owned a home here, he was part owner of the Berry-Lincoln Store and engaged in a variety of defining activities while he was at New Salem. He was a store clerk, rail splitter, law student, Black Hawk War soldier, postmaster, deputy surveyor, failed businessman, and Illinois General Assemblyman in 1834 and 1836.


Three months after his election to the Presidency of the United States, Abraham Lincoln left Springfield, Illinois for Washington, D.C.. On that rainy, February 11, 1861, Monday morning Lincoln gave a brief farewell address to friends and well-wishers on the platform of the train, stationed here at the Great Western Depot. Then, Lincoln left Springfield on his special “inaugural” train-trip traveling to Washington DC to become the 16th President of the United States, a troubled country on the brink of war.



OLD MAIN, Galesburg

Old Main at Knox College is the last remaining building that served as a site for the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. Competing for a U.S. Senate seat, Republican Abraham Lincoln and incumbent Democrat Stephen Douglas held a series of seven debates throughout Illinois in the fall of that year. National newspapers covered the debates as the two politicians discussed critical issues involving the future of the United States. Standing in front of Old Main, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debated, among other issues, the containment or potential spread of slavery to the territories.


BEECHER HALL, Jacksonville

On January 4, 1830, the first class convened in the state of Illinois' first college building, Beecher Hall. Illinois first medical school in (1843) was also housed in Beecher Hall. Beecher Hall was a particularly impressive, monumental structure when constructed in 1830s Illinois. Throughout its history the building has also been associated with many noted persons. The hall is named for Edward Beecher, the college's first president and brother of author Harriet Beecher Stowe.  Others associated with the hall include the explorer John Wesley Powell, who both resided and studied in Beecher Hall, William Jennings Bryan, the great orator and three-time presidential candidate, who studied at Beecher, and many others who spoke at and visited the hall, including Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, Daniel Webster, Horace Greeley, Stephen A. Douglas, and, of course, Abraham Lincoln.

LINCOLN HOME, Springfield

On April 15, 1837, Abraham Lincoln moved to Springfield, Illinois. Though Lincoln was Springfield's newest resident, he was not a stranger to the town. Since 1834, he had represented Sangamon County in the Illinois General Assembly and was instrumental in moving the state capital from Vandalia to Springfield. In this city, Lincoln met political leaders from all over the State as well as his future wife, Mary Todd. The Lincolns were married on November 4, 1842 and lived during their first year of married life in a hotel boarding house, the Globe Tavern. Next they lived for a short time in a  small cottage on 4th Street until they were able to move into this home at Eighth and Jackson Streets. The Lincolns purchased this lot for $300 and the house on it for $1,200 in 1844. The home was much smaller when originally purchased; however the Lincolns made many improvements and enlargements, including a full second story, while living there. In 1855, the home reached its current appearance as the two-story frame and clapboard Greek Revival style home we can visit today.

LINCOLN TOMB, Springfield

The Lincoln Tomb was dedicated in 1874 as the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary, and three of their four sons. The original receiving vault and location of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral services on May 4, 1865 is at the base of the hill on the north. Larking Mead designed the 117-foot Tomb which is constructed of brick with a granite facing. The Tomb's base is 72-foot square with matched sets of stairs leading to the terrace via semi-circular north and south projections. The obelisk, a symbol of permanence and mourning, rises from a secondary square base at the terrace level. Four engaged circular pedestals at the corners of the secondary base support bronze sculptures of Civil War infantry, artillery, cavalry, and navy soldiers and sailors. A standing bronze statue of Lincoln faces south at the base of the obelisk. In front of the Tomb's entry door on the south stands a reproduction of a marble bust of Lincoln by the sculptor of Mt. Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum, that stands in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C..



John Shastid and his family knew Abraham Lincoln from their days at New Salem where they often shopped at the store where Abraham Lincoln clerked. Thomas Shastid, John’s son, and the young Abraham Lincoln became friends. From 1828 to 1836 the Shastid family lived and worked on a farm just outside of the town of New Salem. In January 1836 John Shastid moved his family from New Salem to Pittsfield.  Although their new farmland was located outside of town, the family bought a house within Pittsfield (one of only six at the time) to live. In 1838, Shastid constructed a new home (this model).  Abraham Lincoln often traveled to Pittsfield, the county seat of Pike County.  While in Pittsfield, the Shastids frequently entertained Lincoln in this house.


The Vandalia State House, the fourth Illinois statehouse, served as the capitol from 1836 until 1839 and is the oldest surviving capitol building in the state. The first (1818-1820) was at Kaskaskia, the state’s first capital city. The second (1820-1823), third (1824-1836), and fourth (1836-1839) were at Vandalia. The fifth capitol (1839-1876) is in Springfield, the Old State Capitol State Historic Site, and the sixth is the current state capitol building (1876-present) in Springfield. The Vandalia State House is significant for both its place in Illinois history and its association with Abraham Lincoln, who served in this building during a portion of his time as a state representative from 1834 to 1842. During his time in the legislature, the fourth Vandalia capitol was built, and the state capitol was relocated to Springfield. Lincoln was deeply involved in the relocation of the capitol. In 1974 the Vandalia State House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today the State House is an Illinois Historic Preservation Division's Historic Site.



Grade school students visiting the Thomas Lincoln Home at the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site gather round the Build Your Own Lincoln Site (BYOLS) models in the left picture above. The students are looking for Lincoln’s silhouette found in a window of each model. The image above-center shows the presentation of the model of Old Main at Knox College to Knox College President Roger Taylor (left of model) and Old Main historian, Professor Lance Factor (right). Illinois Bicentennial Commission Director Kay Smith (left) and IL SHPO Architect Carol J. Dyson (right of model) presented the model to Knox College on May 27th, 2009. The doors of the Old Main, the last remaining building related to the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, are visible behind. BYOLS model-designer Michael Goebel-Bain is shown in the picture on the right as he develops the prototype for the Old State Capitol model.




The Tinsley Building, 6th and Adams, Springfield

The Tinsley Building, constructed circa 1840-1841 in Springfield, once housed Abraham Lincoln’s law offices. Situated on a prominent corner of the Old State Capital square in Springfield, the building was also the location of Seth Tinsley’s three-story dry goods store. From 1843-1852 Lincoln shared offices with Stephen T. Logan and William Herndon in the south part of the building. First restored in the late 1960’s by a group of local citizens, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The building is one of the best examples of a Greek Revival commercial building in the state of Illinois. Current research on the building is leading an effort to fully restore the dry goods store and law offices in time for the Bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth in 2009.


The Senior Citizens’ Building at 101 South Spring Street in Elgin

Art Deco was a popular “modern” style in the decorative arts and architecture from the mid 1920’s until World War II. Utilizing new materials and design motifs, buildings were adorned with faceted, stepped, and zigzag forms.  Chevron, sunburst, floral and other motifs were expressed in a highly decorative yet two dimensional manner.  The Senior Services Building is an excellent representation of this style with its’ faceted pylons and parapet along the two street facades. The Building was built in 1930 as the Citadel for the Salvation Army. Built out of crisply cut limestone this building must have made a dramatically “Modern” entry to Main Street. 


First National Bank

The First National Bank in Dwight was designed in 1906 by famous Prairie-Style architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The Prairie Style horizontal massing of the bank was reinforced by the rustic Bedford limestone blocks and the deeply recessed horizontal windows. When the bank was modernized after the Second World War some of the Wright detailing was covered or removed on the interior. In the 1960’s the bank chose to restore the building back to the Wright era and detailing. In the 1980’s bank architect John van Scheltima designed a handsome drive-up bank addition in a highly respectful style (on the left).

The Grojean Building, 360 West State Street, Jacksonville

The Grojean Building is a three story limestone stone building dating from the middle of the nineteenth century. Like many downtown commercial buildings, the exterior of the lower floors were altered a number of times over the years. In the 1920’s, the storefront was changed with the installation of Art Deco-patterned glass in the transom area and a deep, arched “arcaded” display area. The building was again “modernized” in the postwar era when the transoms were covered with a rectilinear sign panel and them again in the 1970’s when the City of Jacksonville constructed a brick and aluminum architectural “canopy” all around the square. Those canopies are currently being removed, which allowed owner Tom Grojean to restore the building’s lower floors in 2002. The exterior restoration returned the elegance of one of the finest Art Deco facades in the state of Illinois. During the 2002 major renovation the first floor was updated to support commercial functions, and the second floor was converted into rental residential. This building inspired other upper-floor renovations in Jacksonville and is shown as a case study in Illinois Main Street’s Upstairs Downtown workshop. More information about upper story redevelopment. For more information about the Grojean Building renovation

Hall’s Shoes, Aledo

The Hall Building in Aledo is a fine example of a nineteenth century Italianate Style commercial building. The building had its storefronts updated in the first half of the twentieth century with a deep “arcaded storefront” and etched glass transoms. Then in 1960’s the transoms were again “modernized” with the rustic western style siding, lighting and sign there now. This property is unusual because the original Hall family still owns the building and has continuously operated a business in it. The Will and Hall sign is still evident in the cornice of the building. The Build Your Own Main Street model illustrates the history of the Hall’s business with the original 19th century upper floors, the 1920’s arcaded storefront with “Hall’s” etched onto the glass transom, and the post World War Two storefront on the right.



The Stein Building

The street facades of this corner building in Blue Island are clad in pressed sheet metal to look like cut stone. The rounded turret, cornice, cast iron storefront and other decorative elements make this building an elegant example of the Queen Anne style, which was very popular for commercial buildings at the end of the nineteenth century. The building faces two streets and the turret projects out over the sidewalk at the street corner.


The DeKalb Clothiers

The upper story of this DeKalb building’s front facade was built with local limestone. Originally built in the late nineteenth century with classical design elements, the building was ‘modernized’ in the 1950’s with a streamlined steel canopy, and a blue-glass mosaic tile storefront. The blue-tile recessed entrance folds back into the building with typical 1950’s asymmetry. Main Street buildings are often a combination of different design styles. The street-level retail storefronts of downtown commercial buildings formed the public “face” of a business, and were updated more often than the upper floors. The “modern” storefront on this building is a sophisticated example of postwar retail design.


The Jensen Drug Store

The Jenson Drug Store Building, built in 1890, doubled in size in 1913 when the new owner, N. P. Jensen, purchased the building and the one next door and expanded the shop. The most prominent element of the building is its 1927 storefront. It features Tiffany brick pilasters, made locally by the Tiffany Brick Co., sand-blasted transom glass signs and copper window frames. This type of storefront is generally called an arcade front and the Jensen building is the best example of this in the region.



78 E. Williams, Crystal Lake

The local bank, post office, and train station were often the most architecturally prominent buildings located downtown in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Banks in particular were well-financed and used monumental classicism to portray a reassuring permanence and solidity to potential customers. This beautiful bank in Crystal Lake is a typical classicist jewel-box of a bank. With its massive freestanding terra cotta columns flanking a pedimented entry, the classical detailing of this bank typifies many others built in the early twentieth century.



The Gardner Museum, 332 Main Street, Quincy

This Romanesque Revival style building, designed by Patton and Fisher in 1888, originally housed the Quincy Public Library. When the library vacated the building in 1974, John Willis Gardner bought the building and established an architectural museum which opened in 1977.  Unique features include the large, three story, circular corner tower, extremely textured stone walls that contrast with smoother brick ones and ornamental iron railings and slate roofs.

Color Your Own Illinois Main Street

Harpole Building

This beautiful building was built after the civil war in Quincy’s downtown. The building retains its original cast-iron storefronts while the brick upper floors illustrate the arched windows and cornice-detailing of the Italianate commercial style. Click on the image to download a .pdf to Color Your Own Illinois Main Street

The Alton Tire Sales Co. Building.

 Not all historic buildings are large and elaborate. This handsome early twentieth century Alton building has long played a part in the automotive-related history of the town. The tapestry brick walls, stone trim, and prism-glass transoms above the storefront windows create a simple but attractive design. Click on the image to download a .pdf to Color Your Own Illinois Main Street

The Village Clerk Building


This village hall building had a large entrance opening for the village fire trucks. The arched window hoods and the simple cornice indicate that this is a mid-19th century building from around the time of the Civil war. Click on the image to download a .pdf to Color Your Own Illinois Main Street


Tips for coloring sheets:

  1. Print out on 8 ½ x 11 paper.
  2. Have fun coloring with crayons or colored pencils and your imagination!
  3. Don’t forget to check back here regularly for new coloring sheets.
Thank you for visiting Build Your Own Illinois Main Street. Come back soon for more Illinois Main Street models and coloring pages from around our state. Enjoy your historic building images!



Thank you for visiting Build Your Own Illinois Main Street. Come back soon for more Illinois Main Street models and coloring pages from around our state. Enjoy your historic building images!

For more information about

Illinois Main Street Design
Illinois’ historic resources
Historic preservation
National Main Street