Touring Springfield, Illinois
“My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington.” –
Lincoln’s Farewell Address to the People of Springfield, Illinois
Either I am easily impressed (I’m not), or the sights here in Springfield, Illinois are kind of awesome – especially if you are a history geek like me.
Over a two-day period, I visited:
- The Lincoln Home
- The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
- Lincoln’s Tomb
- A Frank Lloyd-Wright house: The Dana-Thomas House (which I’ll write about soon)
The Lincoln Home
Built in 1839, and restored to its 1860 appearance, this is the only home that Abraham Lincoln ever owned. You do not want to skip touring this home while in Springfield! He, Mary, and their family lived there for 17 years, taking it from a modest story and a half home, to what you see here.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
Several blocks from Lincoln’s home is the Presidential Museum. If you don’t mind a 10-minute or so walk, hoof on over. Or drive. Just go! This Presidential Museum is impressive! (Oh! RV/Bus parking is available just one block down from the museum. I parked my 24’3″ camper van (affectionately known as “Hers”) both there and at the Bus/RV parking lot right next to the Lincoln Home. – Easy, breezy. Even ran the generator to keep the Puppy RV Venturer (ZuZu) nice and cool.)
Lincoln’s Tomb – in Oak Ridge Cemetery
Dedicated in 1874, here is the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln. It is a magnificent, melancholy sight.
After his death in 1865, Lincoln’s body took a 15-day “funeral train” back to Springfield and was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery on May 4, 1865. Through the efforts of his Springfield friends, funds were raised and intense plans created to make this tribute. (Click here for a helpful, concise timeline of events.)
(If you are super-US-history-geeky like me, here is a YouTube video that goes into great detail: https://youtu.be/hE7s6Ku2Uts.)
I am not ashamed to admit, tears welled in my eyes as I stood inside the tomb and read his Farewell Address to the people of Springfield. Especially poignant because we know what was tragically ahead for him, but of course, he did not.
Well. Alright. I am getting melancholy all over again just writing this. So let me wrap up on a high note: All 3 of these Lincoln sites are so worth the drive, whether you’re on your way from Chicago or California. Head to Springfield, Illinois! I camped at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, which is an easy few miles away. If you go, or if you’ve been, I’d love to hear what you thought of Springfield!