This is another in a series of travelogue articles about historical sites dedicated to American presidents. Join us as we visit Springfield, Illinois to visit the sites of arguably America’s most well known and popular president, Abraham Lincoln…
An Overview Of Springfield’s Lincoln Sites
Located in central Illinois along Interstate 55, Springfield is the home of three distinct sites relating to America’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. Anyone traveling on I-55 to Chicago or St. Louis should take a half day at minimum to explore the life and presidency of Lincoln and learn about his influence that is still felt today.
The three sites are located fairly close to one another in the general area of downtown Springfield. They are the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, and Lincoln’s Tomb. Even if you only have a couple of hours to spend, you can easily see all three sites. Let’s take a closer look at each.
The Museum And Library
Open for just a few years, the Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library is a fascinating portrayal of the presidents life, political career, and ongoing legacy. Here you will find the most comprehensive collection of Lincoln artifacts and memorabilia anywhere. There is an introductory multi media presentation which provides a general overview, and numerous permanent and temporary galleries depicting life during the Civil War and the many challenges during his administration.
The Museum also explores the presidency in general. Many exhibits are rotated from other presidential libraries, so expect to see something different each time you visit.
The Lincoln Home
About eight blocks from the museum is the small two story house where the family lived immediately before Lincoln assumed the presidency in 1861. It is administered by the National Park Service and guided tours are given throughout the day. The home has been restored to its original appearance and quite a few of the furnishings are original.
The tours are free, but you must obtain an admission ticket at the adjacent visitors center. Tours of the immediate historic neighborhood are also available, where you can literally trace the footsteps of Lincoln when he lived here.
Final Resting Place
After the longest funeral procession in American history, before or since, the president was laid to rest in Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery. The cemetery is about a mile from downtown, and you will see the 117 foot tall granite monument as you enter. The president is interred here along with many of his family members.
Visitors from around the world continually visit all three sites. While in Springfield, you should also visit the downtown shopping district with many unique, independent shops. Other sites worthy of a visit are also downtown, including Lincoln’s law office, the former Illinois capitol building, and the current capitol.
A great place for lunch is the popular Boone’s Uptown Grill, just a block from the current state capitol building. Try the famous horseshoe sandwich, a hearty concoction of toast points, ham, turkey, cheese, and french fries. It’s a Springfield original!
A visit to Springfield, Illinois to see the Lincoln sites is an ideal trip for those interested in presidential and American history. The three main sites are within a mile or so of one another and can be easily visited in a half day. While you’re there, be sure to enjoy the shopping in downtown Springfield and lunch or dinner at one of the convenient independent restaurants.