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Some Historical Sources of the
Lemen-Frakes House
321 South Franklin Avenue
Salem, Illinois

"When Lincoln Came To Egypt" was written by George W. Smith in 1940. It contains information about the places where Abraham Lincoln visited in "Little Egypt," which is what southern Illinois is called. Salem is considered the "Gateway of Little Egypt." This book was re-published in 1993 with an addition of "Abraham Lincoln In Southern Illinois," by John Y. Simon. The combined book is very informative for anyone who would like to know about Abraham Lincoln's visits to southern Illinois.

The Lemen-Frakes House is mentioned in the original book and is located on page 103 in the new publication. Some of what it says, "It is generally known that Lincoln and the Reverend James Lemen of Monroe county were devoted friends. Rev. Benjamin Lemen, a member of this family, lived in Salem..."

"Mrs. Lemen was a lady cultured and resourceful. She conducted a seminary and kept roomers and boarders. When the stage driver from Vincennes approached Salem on June afternoon in 1849, knowing that the hotels were crowded, the drove to the home of Mrs. Lemen where Lincoln found not only a room but a kindly welcome from a genuine hostess."

"Lincoln stayed over night in Salem at the home of Mrs. Benjamin Lemen which is located at what is now 321 South Franklin Avenue," says Miss Helen MacMackin, State Regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution..."

Another source of information on the Lemen-Frakes House is in the "Lincoln Heritage Trail" brochure that was put out by the State of Illinois in the 1960's. Governor Otto Kerner was governor during the time it was printed, which means that it was printed between 1960 and 1968.

Just a note: The home at 304 West Schwartz has been torn down.

Another source is the publication of the South Central Illinois Regional Planning and Development Commission in 1978, titled "Historic/Architectual Preservation Study: Southcentral Region." The cover letter follows. Following that is the page of information about the Lemen-Frakes House.

The Lemen-Frakes House was placed on the "Salem Historical Register" by the Salem Historical and Patriotical Commission in June of 1992 for its historical value to the City of Salem. Ironically, it was the same month that Abraham Lincoln stayed in the house over night.

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