Touring Lincoln Sites in Springfield
Being born and raised in Illinois, I heard lots about Abraham Lincoln starting from an early age. He is by far Illinois’ favorite son. After all, the state slogan is “Land of Lincoln” and his face is on the license plates. It seems that most every town in the state has something named after the presidential giant. My hometown has a Lincoln Street and Lincoln Grade School. We even saw a Lincoln statue in London this summer (which I had to take a picture of, of course).
The Saturday after Thanksgiving, Jeff and I drove down to Springfield with my parents to tour the new-ish Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and other Lincoln sites around town. I couldn’t remember visiting these sites as a kid anymore, though I do still remember visiting New Salem.
Our first stop was Lincoln’s Tomb in small Oak Ridge Cemetery on the edge of Springfield. It was a bitterly cold, windy day so we didn’t dwell as long outside as we might otherwise have done. Oh, and there was a golf cart parked right in front of the monument so I did my best to get pictures around it.
If you’re really into Lincoln and/or history stuff, I found a site online that lets you virtually walk through the tomb: http://www.springfield-vr.com/lintomb1-h.html.
After the tomb, we discovered our lunch spot wasn’t open for another half hour so we toured the old state capitol building while we waited.
That’s not my picture — as if you couldn’t already tell that by the green grass and leaves on the trees.
This building served as the state capitol building from 1840-1876. Both President Lincoln and President Obama announced their candidacy here, in 1858 and 2007, respectively. Both Lincoln and Stephen Douglas worked and served in this building.
After lunch at the Garden of Eatin’ (haha – I get puns), it was on to our afternoon at the museum.
The Lincoln Museum chronicles not only Lincoln’s life, but also the Civil War. It was particularly interesting to go through it after just having read The Killer Angels (about the Battle of Gettysburg) in our book club.
We were fortunate to be there on a day they were performing a special show in one of the theatres: One Destiny by Richard Hellesen. From the promotional material:
ONE DESTINY was commissioned and originally performed at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. The play takes place in April 1865 on the stage of Ford’s Theatre, a few days after the assassination of President Lincoln. Harry Hawk – one of the most famous comedic actors of his day – and Harry Ford – a manager of Ford’s Theatre – meet and revisit the events of that night, April 14, 1865.
The show that night was the popular comedy, Our American Cousin, and Hawk was onstage when John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln. Ford and Hawk portray several characters in this moving and theatrical performance.
The show was excellent as was the rest of the museum. Springfield, Illinois isn’t exactly on the way to most places, but if you ever get a chance to stop by, the visit will be well worth your time.
Pictures weren’t allowed most places, but I got a couple shots of the rotunda:
Including a sort of creepy picture of Lincoln’s family with John Wilkes Booth staring at them from a distance:
Be sure to take a closer look (i.e. click on the pictures for larger ones) at the Christmas tree in the first two pictures directly above. That’s right… it’s a Lincoln snowman topping the tree! I told you Illinoisans are crazy about old Abe.