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City Officials Rededicate Historic Plaque 'Lost' In City Hall Storage

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago City officials have rededicated a plaque at Lake Street and Wacker, the site where, among other things, Abraham Lincoln was nominated for president of the United States.

Sauganash Hotel and Wigwam Plaques
(Photo: City of Chicago)

The dual-sided plaque had been in storage for nearly two decades in City Hall's basement. One side commemorates the Wigwam convention hall, while the other commemorates the site of its predecessor, the Sauganash Hotel, which is regarded as Chicago's first hotel.

Ald. Edward Burke, City Council's accomplished historian, braved the brisk cold Monday to say that the Wigwam was where a dark horse candidate for president had help from a lot of local supporters at Chicago's first presidential convention.

"In May of 1860, Chicago hosted the first of its record 25 national presidential conventions at the Wigwam," Burke said. "How different our modern world might be if not for the nomination of Abraham Lincoln here on this very site -- at the Wigwam on May 18, 1860."

Burke was joined by David Reifman, who is the commissioner of the city's Department of Planning and Development. The event took place on the 157th anniversary of Abe Lincoln's election as President.

According to the City of Chicago, the plaque was gifted to the City in the early 1900s by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), a non-profit group that works to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism.

Mary Brennan, who's with DAR, welcomed seeing the plaque back where it belongs, adding, "In a sense, the Land of Lincoln that we all know and love, started on this corner right here on that historic day."

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