For those people who have never visited Downtown Springfield, Ill., you might be surprised to learn of its historic significance and beauty. Everything is pretty much centered on things related to Abraham Lincoln, from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, to the site of one of his law offices and a restored neighborhood that features the president’s home.
There are other fun things to see: art galleries and quaint shops, the Illinois state capitol building and even a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
But with today being President’s Day, we’ll take a closer look at Springfield’s Lincoln sites. The presidential library and museum is located at 212 N. Sixth St. All the other sites are within a few blocks of the museum, excluding Lincoln’s tomb, which is a mile and a half north.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum: The museum takes an inside look at Lincoln the man, the Springfield resident, lawyer, legislator, masterful speech giver and U.S. president. There are a number of exhibits highlighted by movies, re-enactments and artifacts that tell the life and struggles of Lincoln. http://www.alplm.org/home.html
The Lincoln Home National Historic Site: This four-block neighborhood features a number of homes restored to their 1860 appearance, including the structure the Lincolns called home for 17 years. It was the only home Lincoln ever owned. The neighborhood contains 12 structures. Go to http://www.nps.gov/liho/lincoln-neighborhood.htm to learn more about the history of these buildings.
Old State Capitol State Historic Site: This is an exact reproduction of the original that was built in the 1960s after what was remaining of the old site was razed. The original building was where Lincoln practiced law before the state’s Supreme Court, served as a state legislator, gave his 1858 speech titled “House Divided” and where his body lay in state before his burial nearby.
Lincoln Herndon Law Office State Historic Site: Abraham Lincoln practiced law in Springfield from a number of offices. This building is the only office space that is still standing. Lincoln practiced law from this office from 1843 until 1852. It's within sight of the Old State Capitol building and is adjacent to a number of quaint shops and eateries.
Lincoln Depot (Great Western Depot): This is the train depot where Lincoln departed Springfield to head to Washington to take the oath of office as president. Lincoln gave an impromptu farewell speech regarding his affection for his hometown when he saw the turnout of people there to see him off.
Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site: Oak Ridge Cemetery is the final burial place for Lincoln, his wife, Mary, and the entire family except son Robert, who is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. http://www.state.il.us/hpa/hs/lincoln_tomb.htm
Image courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum