'Seven Wonders' of Illinois

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CHICAGO -- Abraham Lincoln apparently doesn't attract votes like he used to in Illinois.

The state Bureau of Tourism announced the results of its "Seven Wonders of Illinois" promotion, which the public began voting on in February. And nowhere on the list is anything to do with the nation's 16th president: not his home, not the building where he gave the "House Divided" speech and not his final resting place, so popular the nose on his bronze bust has been rubbed shiny.

The winners, one for each of seven regions, include five nature sites, one temple, and a baseball stadium:

Northern: Starved Rock State Park, Utica.

Central: Allerton Park and Retreat Center, Monticello.

Western: Black Hawk State Historic Site, Rock Island.

Southern: Rend Lake, Benton.

Southwest: Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway, following a 33-mile strip of river through Alton, Grafton, Hartford and Elsah.

Chicago: Wrigley Field.

Chicagoland: Baha'i House of Worship, Wilmette.

Nominees, finalists and the final seven were determined by visitors to the http://www.enjoyillinois.com Web site. Vote totals were not being released.

Although there were no rules on what could be considered a wonder (a Popeye statue was nominated, for instance) the winners indicated that voters were inclined to think of them as natural wonders, said Jan Kostner, the bureau's deputy director.

"It's really nice to see some different sites in the state emerge and get some attention," she said, citing Allerton Park and the Black Hawk State Historic Site as places most Illinoisans probably aren't familiar with.

She admits she was surprised none of the seven wonders are associated with Lincoln. "On the flip side, Lincoln always gets a lot of attention and always will get a lot of attention," she said.

Lincoln's tomb and the new Lincoln presidential library and museum, located in Springfield, were finalists. Both, however, finished behind the city's Cozy Dog Drive-In, which bills itself as "home of the original hot dog on a stick."


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