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Rock County Historical Society

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Address: 426 N. Jackson St., Rock County Historical Society, Janesville, WI 53548
Phone Number:
+1 608-756-4509

Take a step back into the 19th century on one of our guided Lincoln-Tallman...

Take a step back into the 19th century on one of our guided Lincoln-Tallman House tours, explore the fascinating new exhibits at Helen Jeffris Wood Museum Center or attend one of our many events such as Tallman Arts Festival, the Lincoln Fun Dash or Janesville Historic Walking Tours.

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was once a guest in Rock County's most famous residence, the Linoln-Tallman House? Constructed between 1855 and 1857, this six-floor mansion is an excellent example of Italianate-style architecture. From the basement to the cupola, each floor offers visitors a unique glimpse of daily life in 19th century Rock County. Over seventy percent of the furniture is original, making it one of the most complete historic houses in the Midwest. From 1857 to 1915, the house was occupied by the William Morrison Tallman family. In October of 1859, Abraham Lincoln stayed at the house after a series of speeches in Beloit, forever cementing the reputation of the Lincoln-Tallman House as "where Lincoln slept".

On the guided tour of the house you'll learn about Lincoln's famous visit, discover how the house was built, why the Tallman family moved to Janesville from New York, their connection to abolitionism and the Underground Railroad.

When you visit the Helen Jeffris Wood Museum Center, you'll find several wonderful exhibits, a gift shop and bookstore. Current exhibits include:

*Pauline Pottery showcases

*Pickard china gallery

*Breadbasket: Seed to Spoon exhibit

*Irish in Janesville exhibit

*Parker Pen artifacts

read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 43 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 29
  • 9
    Very good
  • 4
  • 0
  • 1
A young girls fantasy of history

When I was a child this was a much bigger place. I would go here a couple of times a week, so often that I would tell the guides information that they were not aware of. I would... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 30 August 2016
Patricia L
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43 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
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Showing 43: English reviews
Janesville, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 October 2016

Went to the Spirits of the night Tallman Thriller at the Tallman House. It was $20 a person for about a 15 minute tour. Start out by sitting in a dark lit room while they play a recording. Then walk to the Tallman House where a man greets you and guides you through dark lit rooms, with people walking around... More 

1 Thank K L
Mike R, Manager at Rock County Historical Society, responded to this review

K L: We appreciate your candid feedback regarding our Spirits in the Night tour! The intent and design of the experience is to use the house as a backdrop to a theatrical, fictional story about a tragedy that befell a innocent family. To many who have experience the Tallman House at night, it is scary enough in its own right... More 

Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 August 2016

When I was a child this was a much bigger place. I would go here a couple of times a week, so often that I would tell the guides information that they were not aware of. I would dream of being back in the times with the beautiful Victorian dresses and horse drawn carriages. This is a great place to... More 

Thank Patricia L
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 August 2016

History comes alive for kids and teens here. They have added a Storytime once a month. Events are engaging! Snap Apple eve in October-like Halloween with crafts, stories. Lincoln-Tallman Dash in November, Christmas odd traditions and stories with food samples in December. Walking tours, Cache Quest, Easter fun. Getting a membership is a benefit for sure. Not completely non-profit like... More 

Thank Holly L
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2016

... at what a treat the Tallman House tour is. Granted, the Tallmans aren't household names outside Janesville, but what I hadn't realized is that the great majority of the furnishings in the house are original-- including the bed Lincoln slept in in his visit. Our little girl loved. The tour guide was excellent. And, not surprisingly, we were the... More 

Thank tkinnama2016
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
21 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 July 2016

This house has 26 rooms, Italian Villa style. Built in 1855-1857, yes two years! President Lincoln has stayed there for a couple of nights and he asked to sit with the common folk in the parlor. "The Peoples President" The furniture of that era was built to the needs of the inhabitants of the home, height being of all of... More 

Thank pat c
Janesville, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
37 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 July 2016 via mobile

The Lincoln Tallman house is a very well restored historic home. The majority of items in this 1850's house are original to the home. It is interesting that they have 3 different types of tours one can take though you have to pay for each separately. The small fee is definately worth the price. A must see if in the... More 

Thank Duane F
Rock Springs, Wyoming
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 July 2016

Visiting the Tallman house was very informational about the past history of the Janesville area. President Lincoln's stay there was an especially interesting tid bit of interest. Take the time to look around and step back into some history.

Thank Sian W
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 June 2016

Welcoming hosts explained the nature of the tour and grounds for this outing with our 11 and 13 year old granddaughters. My husband is a Vietnam Veteran and had free admission. The girls enjoyed the terrific interactive toy display full of "old toys" ( some of which resembled toys of our youth!) both before and after the tour. Our tour... More 

Thank Jane H
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
151 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2016

The folks here know their history. Helpful and generous with their time, knowledge and support. The Tallman house well worth a visit, if only to see the carpet in the drawing room, based on the original design. Exhibits interesting.

Thank REJ810
Parkersburg, Iowa, United States
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2016 via mobile

Very good tour guide. Knew her stuff. Private tour in off season! Exciting and made us want to return.

Thank Linda S

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?