The Old Chicago Wigwam
In this structure, built along the Chicago River at the southeast corner
of Wacker Drive and Lake Street in Chicago, the Republican Party nominated
Illinois' Abraham Lincoln for the presidency in 1860. Lincoln's campaign,
led by future Supreme Court Justice David Davis, packed the hall with
Lincoln men and well-wishers, and derailed the New Yorker William Seward's
quest for the nomination. Lincoln himself did not visit the convention,
monitoring its progress by telegraph in Springfield, as was the custom
at the time. Chicago business leaders paid for the hall's construction.
In doing so, they attracted the first American political convention held
west of the Allegheny Mountains to their city. The two-story, wooden Wigwam
took its name from a Native American word for "temporary shelter," and
could seat up to 10,000 people. After the construction, city groups used
the building for other large meetings before it burned down, perhaps in
the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.