As you make your way into Carlinville, which sits on Old Route 66 about 35 miles south of Springfield, one thing you’ll notice from a distance above the treeline is the Macoupin County Courthouse. Completed in 1870 at a cost of more than $1.3 million, the massive building that sits just east of the square looks like it could be the statehouse of a small New England state.
Although the courthouse hasn’t been on the town square for almost 150 years, the square is still the center of town, with stores lining the intersection of Route 4 and Main Street. There’s a nice book shop on the southeast side, and for some good chili, head to Taylor’s tucked away in the northeast corner past the old hotel.
One interesting note about the square itself: about 10 years ago, the bricks had decayed to the point the road was going to have to be rebuilt. While the city could have opted to pave it over, they decided to rebuild the entire square, from scratch, with brick. Although that brought the cost of the project up significantly, they apparently decided that the pavers gave the square character. I agree.
But one of the more unique stories the town has to tell is almost one hundred years old a little off the beaten path.