METAMORA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Metamora Courthouse State Historic Site, originally built in 1846 for a Woodford County case, is now a piece of Metamora’s history.

It is a small but mighty building and stands right in the square on partridge street. The Courthouse reopened in February and has quite the legacy.

When the Courthouse opened in 1846, there weren’t many cases for the courthouse to hold. Because of that, it took a short amount of time to get through all the County’s cases.

“Woodford County was one of the smaller counties in the district, especially population-wise, so it actually only took 2 to 3 days to actually get through all the cases here,” said Site Interpreter Amberly Kane.

Before the Courthouse was even built, Former President Abraham Lincoln practiced law at the site.

“Abraham Lincoln actually did practice law here. His first case in Metamora actually dates back to 1844 before the courthouse was built,” said Kane.

Famously known for hosting the Melissa Goings case, where former President Lincoln was the defense attorney, 70-year-old Goings is said to have killed her 76-year-old husband with a piece of firewood. The story says that Lincoln let goings flee.

“One is that Lincoln opened a window and then walked out of the room, and she crawled out the window never to be seen again, another is that she simply walked out the door,” said Kane.

When recess ended and the judge questioned Goings’ absence, Lincoln responded, “Your honor, I did not chase her off. She simply asked me where she could get a good drink of water, and I said… Tennessee has mighty fine drinkin’ water.” That’s the last case Lincoln had at the Metamora Courthouse.

The first Sheriff of Woodford County is said to say that after the morning cases were completed at the Courthouse, Lincoln would go to the lawn and play horseshoes with his jacket off, relaxing. The sheriff would summon him back for the afternoon cases, and once they were completed, he would finish his games.

In addition to Lincoln’s historic time in Metamora, the Courthouse also holds artifacts from the 1800s, one being the justice of peace docket, which is a book of the court’s history.

“You get a lot of stories about your residents that were in the county, and their squabbles kind of back and forth,” said Kane.

Another historic artifact is a flag made by Metamora residents for the debates between Lincoln and, at the time, candidate for senator, Stephen Douglas.

“I just love the whole concept of the debates and how Lincoln and Stephen Douglas formed the debates that we basically have today,” said Conservation Educator Representative Annie Vitti.

The building also includes original flooring in the courtroom and other artifacts from when the courthouse was built.