National Geographic : 1961 Jul
As Abraham Lincoln knew it, old Vanda lia, Illinois, endures in a mural by John Matthew Heller. The painting, in the town's Hotel Evans, turns back the clock to 1836. Lincoln, here arriving by stagecoach, meets Stephen A. Douglas, his colleague in the. Illinois Legislature. Vandalia, then the State capital, housed the lawmakers in the red brick building, to which a columned portico has since been added. Madonna of the Trail Honors Mothers of Covered Wagon Days The heroic stone figure of a strong-featured woman clad in homespun, a child in her arms and another clinging to her skirt, strides forward on a street corner in Van dalia, terminus of the old National Road. Identical statues erected by the National Society, Daughters of the American Rev olution, stand in 12 States stretching from Maryland to California. They remind mod ern America of the Nation's infancy and the courageous families who poured across the Alleghenies to plant their homes in the west ern wilderness. Behind the statue stands Vandalia's old capitol building, now a State memorial. Glowing fireball in the western sky, the setting sun beckons motorists on U. S. 40 to follow it across the horizon.