When you step onto the streets of Springfield, Illinois, the energy you feel will transport you back in time to the days when one of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, walked those very streets over 100 years ago. President Lincoln was a young politician in 1837 who is credited in great part for the city becoming the state capitol. He worked, married, raised his children, and was buried here. To be given the opportunity to walk in his footsteps is one of great privilege and something one will not soon forget. So come with me, we’re going to see “Honest Abe.”
Living just a few miles from Springfield, I am fortunate to visit the city on a regular basis. Upon each return I gain a new respect and appreciation for the steps that have been, and continue to be taken for preserving Lincolns legacy. I, having visited all of these places, would like to share with you the most inspiring and influential.
The Lincoln Home National Historic Site is a must see. This is the first home that Lincoln purchased, living here for seventeen years. The home has been completely restored to its original 1860 appearance with furniture, personal effects and most importantly, Lincoln’s dreams and ambitions tucked inside. Lincoln lived in this home before being elected President thus prompting his move to the White House.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is another must as it houses the largest collection of Lincolns personal documents and artifacts. During your visit you will be able to view a very inspiring interactive film on the life of Lincoln and his time in Springfield.
The Old State Capitol in the heart of downtown is another great attraction. The architecture and overall beauty of this building is breathtaking. Walk the halls and visit the many rooms where Abraham Lincoln himself once walked. Lincoln spent much of his time here in the law library sharing friendship with his colleagues. The feeling you will walk away with after visiting this building is one of great inspiration, for this is where Lincoln spent much of his time making heartfelt decisions. His work here on behalf of the people has had a strong and lasting effect on our country.
The Lincoln Depot is where President Lincoln made his departure speech after being elected to the Presidency. Here you will see an emotionally admirable recreation of Lincoln and his friends as he began the journey to his inauguration.
The Lincoln Tomb is the burial place of Lincoln and his immediate family, with the exception of his son Robert. Situated in Oak Ridge Cemetery, the sculpture is stunning to see. Lincoln’s wife requested, against advice of many, to have him buried here, for this was the place that Lincoln called home. This site is visited annually by hundreds, and is also the burial place of many other notable historic figures, including some of Lincoln’s colleagues.
The history of Abraham Lincoln and his relationship to this city is what makes it such a great place to be, but there are many other sites, some with ties to Lincoln, some not, which are great attractions as well. A few of the other must sees are the Air Combat Museum, the Illinois Fire Museum, Shea’s Gas Station Museum, the Illinois State Military Museum, Camp Butler National Cemetery, and the memorial sites dedicated to fallen veterans, police officers and firefighters.
Your visit to Springfield will be one you will carry with you for the rest of your life. When you walk these streets, these buildings and these halls, you will leave with bits and pieces of Lincolns heart, his ambition, and his desire to inspire. Springfield, Illinois is that great. See for yourself.
Sources from personal accounts and the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau