If there is anything that you know about Springfield in the US state of Illinois, it is the state’s capital. But, did you know that Springfield was also the home to former US president Abraham Lincoln. Anyone who is familiar with American history will recognize him as the president who united the United States following its civil war in the 1860’s.
Before he went on to become the US president, he spent much of his life and career in Springfield. So, as a result of that, there are a few things to do in Springfield, IL that has to do with Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site
The Lincoln Home National Historic Site is located on the corner of Eighth and Jackson Streets in Springfield. That was the home that Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln lived during their time in Springfield. This was the only home that they ever owned in their lives. Three out of four of Abraham and Mary’s children were born within this home.
These three children were Edward Baker Lincoln, William Wallace Lincoln, and Thomas Lincoln. One of them died inside the home at the age of three from tuberculosis. Before the Lincolns bought this home in May of 1844, it once belonged to the Reverend Charles Dresser who officiated the wedding of Abraham and Mary two years earlier.
When the Lincolns bought the home for around $1,500 in 1844, it started out as a small one and a half floor home with five rooms in total. As the Lincoln family expanded over time, the home went through four renovations in order to accommodate the expanding family. The renovations were completed in 1860 when the house expanded to two full stories with twelve rooms.
Today, the Lincoln home appears just as it did in 1860 after all the four renovations were completed. It is designed in the Greek Revival architectural style with Italianate influences. The entrance to the historic, stately Lincoln Home is free for everybody.
Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site
During much of Abraham Lincoln’s time in Springfield, he was a lawyer. He maintained a law office on the third floor of a historic three story brick building that is now known as the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site. The building is located on the corner of Sixth and Adam Streets in an area of Springfield known as the Central Springfield Historic District.
Abraham practiced law within this building from 1843 until 1852. During his time practicing law within the building, he had two partners – Stephen T. Logan and William H. Herndon. The second floor of the building was occupied by a federal courtroom which Abraham was known to appear before District Judge Nathaniel Pope regarding 40 regular cases and 72 bankruptcy proceedings as a lawyer.
During nearly 25 years of his career as a lawyer, Abraham held law offices in more than one building in Springfield. However, this is the only building that has been preserved in order to resemble what it was like during his time there. The first floor contains a visitor’s center with exhibits and a video exploring Abraham’s legal career. The second floor is a recreation of the courtroom that Abraham used to show up.
When you reach the third floor, you can view the actual offices that Abraham and his partners used to occupy. Tours of the building is free for everybody although donations of $2 for adults and $1 for children are encouraged. There is also a gift shop on the first floor of the building.
Old State Capitol State Historic Site
The Old State Capitol State Historic Site is located on East Adams Street in downtown Springfield, just north of the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices building. Even though the old state capitol is generally known to be the former seat of Illinois government, it has a few notable connections to Abraham Lincoln.
First, it was in the old state capitol that Abraham served his final term as a state house representative in the early 1840’s. Second, the old state capitol was where Abraham argued several hundred cases as a lawyer before the state Supreme Court which was housed inside the old state capitol during that period.
Thirdly and most importantly, it was in the old state capitol where Abraham launched his successful 1860 presidential bid in June of 1858 with his iconic House Divided speech. The old state capitol is built in the Greek Revival architectural style with locally sourced yellow Sugar Creek limestone.
It is surrounded by a large neatly landscaped yard with historic 1850’s-era ornamental iron fencing. Admission to the old state capitol is free to all. Even so, donations are still encouraged at $2 for adults and $1 for children.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is located on North Sixth Street to the northeast of the old state capitol in Springfield. This museum is dedicated to the entire life of Abraham Lincoln from his childhood to his time in Springfield to his presidency. The permanent exhibits at the museum are divided into three categories.
The first category is called Journey One: The Pre-Presidential Years. The second one is called Journey Two: The Presidential Years. The third one is known as The Treasure Gallery.
In the first category, you will experience various aspects of Abraham’s life before he became president. These include a teenaged Abraham studying law books within his childhood log cabin, his home life during his Springfield years, his legal and political careers, and his 1860 presidential campaign. The second category focuses on different parts of Abraham’s presidential years.
These include his famous Gettysburg address, the way he dealt with the death of one of his children, the time that Mary Lincoln was fitted for a gown by her dressmaker in the White House’s Blue Room, and his assassination at the Ford Theater. In The Treasure Gallery, you will check out various items from throughout Abraham’s life.
The admission prices for the museum are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, $10 for military members, and $6 for children aged 5 through 15. Those aged under 5 will get free admission. You can head here to buy your tickets for the museum.
These are the things to do in Springfield, IL that revolve around the iconic 16th president of the United States. This central Illinois city played a major role in Abraham Lincoln’s journey towards unifying a civil war-fractured nation.
Should you be in search of a hotel to stay overnight at during your time in Springfield, I am here to lend you a hand. Here are two hotels I would suggest you to book your stay at.
Baymont by Wyndham Springfield
This hotel is located on Sixth Street Frontage Road East in Springfield. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Lake Point Grill, Cracker Barrel, and Head West. The hotel houses a hybrid indoor/outdoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. There is a fitness center available for your workout needs.
All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $66 to $112. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Springfield, IL
This hotel is located on Adlai Stevenson Drive in Springfield. This hotel offers free breakfast to guests. For the hungry, a few dining options nearby include Bob Evans, Red Lobster, and Taste of Thai Restaurant. You can find an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. A fitness center is also available for you to use.
All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $75 to $122. You can go here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.
What are your thoughts? Are you looking to immerse yourself into Abraham Lincoln’s life in Springfield? Feel free to leave a comment below.