Past Event

Election Day 1818

Election Day 1818 recaptures the festive energy of the first election held on the cusp of statehood in the state’s first capitol with period appropriate music by Dennis Stroughmatt et L’Esprit Creole, games for children, and short speeches by candidates Shadrach Bond, Pierre Menard, and Daniel P. Cook.

Costumed historical interpreters from the Historic 1820 Colonel Benjamin Stephenson House and the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site create the atmosphere of life during early statehood. After hearing from the candidates, members of the public are invited to vote as they did in 1818—with their voice and surrounded by their peers.

A conversation in Immaculate Conception Church with local historians Emily Lyons, Carol Pirtle, and Brad Winn about Illinois in 1818, the first election, and changes in political participation over the last two hundred years follows the vote.

Period-appropriate refreshments are being provided courtesy of Immaculate Conception Church, and the public is also going to receive a campaign button and a reproduction of the September 16, 1818 Illinois Intelligencer printed by the County-Journal.

For more information about this event, please contact Paul Durica at or (312) 422-5583. For more information about other Bicentennial programming, visit