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Mermaid House Inn

Mermaid House Inn
114 E. St. Louis Street
Lebanon, Illinois

Built in 1830 by retired sea captain Lyman Adams, the Mermaid House Inn served as an inn and stagecoach stop on the Vincennes Trail that ran from St. Louis, Missouri to Vincennes, Indiana. It is said that Adams named it the Mermaid House because he not only believed in mermaids but said that he had seen them at sea.

Charles Dickens visited the Mermaid House in 1842 and wrote about his visit in his book "American Notes" devoting a chapter to the trip entitled "A Jaunt to the Looking Glass Prairie and Back." Mermaid House was the lesser of at least two hotels in Lebanon at the time, the much more lavish Bishop House being located across the alley, facing the public square. Adams owned the land east of Lebanon from which the Dickens party viewed the Looking Glass Prairie, and it seems that this is the connection that drew his party to the hotel of Adams in town.

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