METAMORA — This community does not live by football alone. But that sport isn’t exactly inconsequential in Metamora, either.
Neither is golf. And neither is the village’s history, which includes a former U.S. president.
Over the past 60 years, the Metamora population has more than doubled, to almost 3,700. Founded in 1836 as Hanover, the Woodford County village also was known as Black Partridge and Partridge Point until 1845, when its current name was adopted.
The name was based on a character in a popular stage play of that era — so popular that communities in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio also are named Metamora. But the one in Illinois stands out, for several reasons.
Here’s a look at them.
More:Here are five Illinois golf courses worth the drive from the Peoria area
High school football and strong academics
Metamora Township High School has a strong academic reputation, nurtured in large part by former longtime superintendent Ken Maurer, who later became village president.
But the school is known all over Illinois for something else.
The Metamora football program has won three state championships — in 1975, 2007 and 2009 — and has finished second seven times.
In the early 1960s, head coach Marty Stromberger helped begin excellence successors Bill Roper, John Helmick and Rich Koehler continued. But a 1981 Metamora graduate helped establish new heights.
Pat Ryan coached the Redbirds for 30 seasons, beginning in 1990. He finished with a record of 268-75. Ryan’s teams played in seven state-title games and won twice. Ryan now is director of high school relations for University of Illinois football.
Metamora shopping:Couple turns historic Metamora house into craft mall
Abraham Lincoln connection
The namesake of the Metamora Courthouse State Historic Site was built in 1845 and stems from when the village was the Woodford County seat. It was the courthouse for the old Illinois Eighth Circuit, whose legal practitioners included a young attorney named Abraham Lincoln.
The future 16th U.S. president handled more than 70 cases at the Metamora courthouse, including two murders. One, involving Melissa Goings, is commemorated with statues at the historic site.
Local history:What to know about the Lincoln-Goings statues
Lincoln was based in Springfield but traveled from one county seat to another in the circuit when court was in session.
Lincoln’s travels and those he met on them came in handy when he began his political career. Although he lost his 1858 U.S. Senate race against Stephen Douglas, Lincoln won the presidency two years later.
The Metamora courthouse is one of only two still standing in Illinois in which Lincoln practiced law. The other is in Mount Pulaski, in Logan County.
Growing village:Metamora and Washington are seeing growth. Why they’re bucking population trends
Fields of greens — and fairways, too
Metamora Fields Golf Club opened in 2011, three years after founders Jim and Carol Ring decided the community needed a decent place to play and a decent clubhouse that could play host to special events.
The Woodford County business couple hired longtime PGA Tour player D.A. Weibring to design the course. A Quincy native, Weibring played at Illinois State University before he turned pro. His firm also designed TPC Deere Run in Silvis, a PGA Tour site.
Metamora Fields was built on Ring-purchased farmland at the western edge of town. Peoria-based Turf Solutions Group built it. The well-kept course attracts players of all skill levels from around the state.
IllinoisGolf.com ranked Metamora Fields 12th on its 2022 best-courses list. Sister-course WeaverRidge Golf Club in Peoria was ninth. The Illinois Elementary School Association conducts its golf state championships at Metamora Fields.