Springfield, Illinois

visitor bureauSpringfield is the capital of Illinois and the one time residency of Abraham Lincoln prior to his Presidential election.  I’ve journeyed to Springfield twice and know I will go back again one day.  The area around the Capital and near the Lincoln historical sites has a very small town atmosphere.  (In fact, I had a hard time finding an open restaurant on the weekend past 2 pm.)

For those whom have read my prior blog posts, you know how I got here.

amtrak spg

I had a lot of things on the agenda for 3 days.  I walked everywhere I had to go, so I was limited as to what attractions I was going to see. 

museum 1The big draw to Springfield is President Lincoln’s grave and the new state of the art Presidential Museum and Library.  You weren’t allowed to photograph any of the exhibits so you’ll have to check out the museum website for a peak at the exhibits.  http://www.lincolnlibraryandmuseum.com/pp.htm  What makes this such a unique museum is the life like wax statues throughout the exhibits as well as the holographic 3d and 4d technology of the movies shown.  The museum takes you though Lincoln’s early life in the log cabin, through his years in the practice of the law and the ups and downs of his presidential years- including death.  What made this an emotional museum for me was the figures because it made them so lifelike.  You could feel the sorrow of Mrs. Lincoln by looking at the mannequin and the frustration of the President during the Civil War.

The walk from the museum to the gravesite at Oak Hills cemetery was at least 3 miles.  The new mausoleum that houses Lincoln’s remains is relatively new.  They used to keep him in a smaller gated crypt below a hill in the back of the cemetery. Now he has a tall oblique similar to the Washington Monument in DC, with all kinds of statues surrounding the inside and outside.  They say it’s good luck to rub Lincoln’s nose, and you can see many people have.

tombnose grave

In the downtown area they have preserved the Old Capital building and furnished it with period pieces.  This is where he gave one of his famous speeches on “The House Divided.”  The same furnishings is true for Lincoln and his partner Herndon’s Law Office where he practiced law from 1834-1852.

old cap law

The street in which Lincoln’s home is located in a 4 block National Park area.  This is the only home that Lincoln ever owned.  You are allowed to go inside.  The other buildings and homes on these blocks are restored with some containing additional exhibits inside.  It’s a beautiful place to stroll though and relax.  spg home

The old train depot is where he gave his final speech in Springfield before he left for Washington DC.  He never returned to Springfield again except for when his remains retuned for internment.

depot 1

For those wondering, I could only find one visible sign of the Simpsons in Springfield and that was a cardboard cutout of Homer in a 2nd floor window.  In my opinion, Illinois is where the Simpsons lived.  I could easily see Bart skateboarding on the sidewalks outside Lincoln’s law office, and Lisa playing her saxophone on the steps of the Chamber of Commerce.