Home/Events /Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Festival
Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Festival
Date & Time
9/21/19 - 9/22/19
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM


The Annual Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Festival will be held Saturday/Sunday September 21 & 22 at locations in Lincoln, Illinois, all of which are located on Historic Route 66 – Postville Courthouse State Historic Site, Postville Park, VFW and The Mill Museum. The event is a celebration of the pioneer days that influenced Abraham Lincoln’s early life, including his time as a lawyer on the 8th Judicial Circuit.

Traditional Saturday festival activities include the Women's Firewood Split, Log Rolling Contest, Cross Cut Saw Competition, Trick Riding & Drill Team by Rita Coleman, Team Railsplitting Contest, Jr. Railsplitting Contest and the Amateur Railsplitting Contest - all at Postville Park, located at 5th and Washington Streets (Route 66).

The Railsplitter Antique Auto Club and Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County will be hosting their annual Cruise-In event event on Saturday from 11am to 3pm at The Mill on 66 in conjunction with the Railsplitting Festival. There will be awards and prizes, live music from Sundown, and hot pizza for the event.

Sunday Railsplitting festival activities include a Community Church Service, the Dean Tibbs Tomahawk Throw, the Ray Begolka Corn Shelling Contest, Water Boil Contest, Trick Riding & Drill Team by Rita Coleman, the Re-Christening of the City Lincoln at 3pm and the National Railsplitting Contest at 3:15pm.

Live Bluegrass music will be featured all day Saturday and Sunday at Postville Courthouse located at 914 5th Street. The 108th Illinois Field Hospital, a Civil War Reenactment Unit from Peoria, IL will also be at the Postville Courthouse, both days of the Festival.

The roots of the Railsplitting Festival began in 1970 at Jerry's Drive-In on Woodlawn Road, Lincoln, IL. Daris Knauer met with the co-chairman of tourism of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, LeRoy Buckheit. LeRoy was "flipping burgers" in his restaurant as they talked about an event, because there was a busload of people in the restaurant. Daris had an idea about holding an event that was related to Abraham Lincoln’s days in Logan County. LeRoy mentioned that they should name the event the "Railsplitter" because Abe Lincoln was known for splitting rails. During the first Railsplitter event, a man from Petersburg, IL named Johnny Jones split rails for the state of Illinois, and later became a judge at the inaugural event. Soon after, Johnny established "rail rules" for the contest/competition. These rules have evolved over the years, but have stayed generally the same. Paul Harvey, the famous radio personality, was heard to mention that the first Lincoln Railsplitting Festival was held in Lincoln, IL.

One of the most famous festival visitors was President Gerald Ford, who made a campaign stop in 1976, and split a rail while he was at the festival. The Mill Museum has an official Railsplitting Festival display as part of their museum collection.

The festival committee would like to thank all our sponsors over the years for keeping the tradition going for this amazing family-fun event. For complete details and information about volunteering for the event, visit www.railsplitting.com.

Postville Courthouse
914 5th Street
Lincoln, IL