Quincy, Illinois



A river city along the Mississippi, Quincy was once the second-largest city in Illinois, ahead of Peoria and behind only Chicago. And that past means that there are several historic districts in the city, which showcase the architecture of the German immigrants from the late 19th century.

Washington Park in Quincy was the site of the sixth of the famous Abraham Lincoln-Stephen Douglas debates in 1858. With more than 15,000 people in attendance, Lincoln drew out Douglas’ admission that he sided with “states’ right” for settling the issue of the permission of slavery.

There is also a figure from historic Quincy who was at ground zero during a pivotal moment of world history.

Born in Quincy in 1915, Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr., who would pilot the Enola Gay (named after his mother) when it dropped the first atomic bomb used in warfare — August 6, 1945 — on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

Tibbets — who lived into his 90s in Columbus, Ohio — told Mike Harden of the Columbus Dispatch, “I knew when I got the assignment it was going to be an emotional thing. We had feelings, but we had to put them in the background. We knew it was going to kill people right and left. But my one driving interest was to do the best job I could so that we could end the killing as quickly as possible.”

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