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Jonesboro debate

Statues of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas along with a commemorative plaque mark the site of their Sept. 15, 1858, debate in Jonesboro. The Jonesboro debate was the third of seven between the two candidates for the U.S. Senate seat.

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Top 200 project, which began in February and wrapped up last month, allowed people to vote online for the top things in Illinois history, from books and buildings to entertainers and scientists, as part of the state's 200th birthday celebration.

The voting resulted in 20 Top 10 lists, for a list of 200 people, places and things. (Actually, it's 201. There was a tie for last place in the very last category.)

The bicentennial was marked with a gala Monday night at Navy Pier in Chicago that was attended by both Gov. Bruce Rauner and Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker.

Here are a few observations about the results. See the complete list at http://bit.ly/ILTOP200

• Abraham Lincoln dominates. People, places and things connected to him appear 10 times.

• People like the Chicago Cubs. Three Cubs players were among the top 10 athletes, Wrigley Field was voted top building and their 2016 World Series victory was the No. 2 unforgettable moment.

• Voters value the state's agricultural heritage. The list of top businesses included Archer Daniels Midland, Deere & Co. and DeKalb AgResearch. The steel plow, barbed wire and the silo made the list of top inventions. The John Deere historic site was among the state's top historic sites.

• The state's French roots were recognized with Fort de Chartres and Fort Massac among the top historic sites and the Jarrot Mansion and the Fort de Chartres powder magazine making the list of top buildings.

• Sometimes the obvious choices ended up on top. Lincoln was the top leader. Michael Jordan was the top athlete. Frank Lloyd Wright was the top architect. Barack Obama was the top minority trailblazer.

• Sometimes the longshots came out on top. Lydia Moss Bradley, founder of Bradley University in Peoria, was named top groundbreaking woman. REO Speedwagon beat Miles Davis and Muddy Waters, among others, in the top musicians category. "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" — written in Chicago but more famous for its Kansas connection — was named top book.

• The period of 1946-2000 is most represented on the list, thanks to big boosts from music, sports and entertainment. It accounts for 42 percent of the entries that could be assigned to specific eras. The next was 1901-1945, at 22 percent.

• Least represented was the pre-colonial era, with just one entry. Cahokia Mounds was one of the top historic sites.

The Illinois Top 200 project was a joint initiative of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, The State-Journal Register and the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.

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