Springfield, Illinois, is a small city but it is Illinois’ state capitol and has the history to go with it. Among its varied historic sites you will find a Lincoln mecca. If you stop through, don’t just stop by the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (though definitely stop there–it’s great). The hidden gem of a historic site is the Lincoln Home Historic Site. Here’s five unique things that are reasons its worth a stop:
- Lincoln Home Historic Site is mere blocks from downtown Springfield. Lincoln was known to walk to work! Make a trip of it and walk over to the Presidential Library and Museum to Lincoln’s law office.
- Lincoln’s house was not only the only house he ever owned, it actually went straight from his ownership to museum. After his death in office, visitors poured to his Springfield house to mourn. It quickly became a popular place for rallies, ceremonies and celebrations. Its popularity enabled the house to transition directly from Lincoln ownership to museum, meaning detail like the Lincoln’s furniture are still there.
- Lincoln left his mark on this house: he lived there from 1844 until he was elected president in 1860 and moved to the White House. Among the many changes he made: adding the second floor and decidedly Greek Revival characteristics and installing a lightening rod to quell Mary Todd Lincoln’s fear of lightening.
- Preservation extends to the streets: the Lincoln Historic Site has expanded to encompass the surrounding blocks and the buildings on them. Many of these buildings feature their own interpretation. The streets have a gravel surface returning them to a similar appearance to that which Lincoln would have seen. A separate museum is steps away.
- You can wander the streets of the Lincoln Home Historic Site and tour the house for free! It is said this was at the request of Lincoln’s son at the time to house opened for visitors.
Interested in Lincoln? A few other Lincoln historic sites:
- The Other Buildings at the Lincoln Tomb
- A President You’ve Heard of in a Town You Probably Haven’t
- Views of Lincoln’s Kentucky
- The Future of a Historic Site: Lincoln’s Tomb
- Lincoln’s Law Office: Bringing Ghost Signs Back to Life
Sources and Further Reading:
The Lincoln Home Through the Years, a great timeline from the NPS
Visit the Presidential Library and Museum (and let me know what you think about the hologram!)
Visit the Lincoln Home Historic Site