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monumentFundraising proceed slowly. As this was occurring in the midst of the Civil War, many political donors felt their charitable contributions should go for the care and relief of Union soldiers.

Although some donations were received, most of the money collected in the Association's early days came from membership subscriptions. For one dollar, each donor received a "diploma of membership," which features a "fine portrait" of Doulgas and a "bird's eye view" of his grave.

The Douglas Monument Association requested state assistance in a letter to legislators in May 1863. The Association needed $25,000 to buy the grave site and $50,000 to construct  monument. The state ultimately granted the financial assistance and approved a design for the monument submitted by Leonard Volk. The first phase of the work was begun in October 1865.

The Association invited President Andrew Johnson to participate in the cornerstone laying ceremony. He accepted and stopped in Chicago, as part of his "swing around the circle" political tour of the eastern half of the country. Accompanying Johnson were several members of his cabinet, as well as Generals Grant, Rawlins, Dix, Meade and Custer, and Admiral Farragut.

The ceremony took place on September 6, 1866. Shops, businesses, and banks were closed. The Illinois Central Railroad ran trains to the grave every ten minutes. Over one hundred thousand people lined the parade route. The Association capitalized on the event by selling seats in front of the speakers stand for three dollars each. Tin boxes for donations to the Douglas Monument Association were placed in public places, and five thousand medals were sold for one and two dollars apiece. 

This article was written by Barbara Hughett and appeared in the December 1990 Little Giant.