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The Charleston Murals: A Glimpse into the Past


Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, Illinois


Coles County



Additional Resources

This website should prove helpful to local history teachers, professors, students, and others who are fascinated with Charleston's history. As a coordinated effort between the Charleston Tourism Office and Eastern Illinois University's History Department, this site provides a description of each scene depicted in the murals, questions for future researchers, a list of helpful links, bibliographical information, an assortment of historic photographs, and a lesson plan that can be integrated into local high school or college level curricula.

Charleston's reputation as a City of Murals is growing as more and more visitors to our town learn of the project. In 1998, local artists gathered their paintbrushes, climbed on to a scaffold and began transforming dull walls of downtown buildings into impressive works of art. The "Murals Around The Square" project was launched by the City of Charleston in an effort to promote Charleston's rich heritage and charming downtown square. Since 1998 seven more outdoor works of art have been completed in the downtown area. At least another six are proposed.

The Murals of Charleston represent more than just works of art, they also depict a rich cultural heritage. Each one illustrates an influential event or period in Charleston's history. They are portholes that allow us to travel back in time to witness the significant social, economic, and political changes that have shaped this city. Why should we be interested in local history? What events have shaped our region? What can we learn from them? How has Charleston changed over time? What is the significance of the scenes depicted in the Charleston Murals? How can I find out more about this area's history? These are just a few of the questions that this site will help answer.

Click on each mural for more information.


mural 2

Historic Courthouse Mural


mural 4

Facades of Historic Charleston Mural


mural 6

Charleston Riot Mural


mural b

Historic Charleston Mural


mural c

Lincoln Arriving At The Train Depot Mural


portrait sculptures

Portrait Sculptures of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas



Helpful Links

charleston sealBibliography

Lesson Plan

Walking Tour Map


Created by James W. Draper, Historical Administration Graduate Program 2000/2001 - Eastern Illinois University.