This morning we had breakfast and mapped out our day in Springfield to visit the Lincoln sites. It was a gorgeous day with sunny skies and 82 degree temperatures. We left the campground about 10:00 and drove the couple of miles to Lincoln’s tomb in the Oak Ridge Cemetery nearby. We tried to follow the tourist map they gave us, but it got us lost, so it took us a little longer than it should have to find the correct entrance.
We finally arrived at the correct entrance and parked the Jeep. Masks are required in all government buildings and the tomb was no exception.
At the entrance to the tomb, there is a bronze bust of Lincoln where visitors have stopped to rub the nose of the statue for good luck. I was no exception.
The 117-foot granite tomb houses the remains of Abraham Lincoln, his wife, and three of their four sons. The oldest son is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC.
Lincoln’s remains are buried in a concrete vault 10 feet below the surface of the burial room after some people tried to steal his remains years ago.
From here, we drove downtown to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. We found parking on the street near the museum without a problem. (After filling the parking meter with quarters, we found out inside the museum that due to COVID, parking at the meters and in the parking structure is free. That would have been good to know ahead of time. But oh well, we were only out $2.50. We also forgot our printed tickets in the bus. This was starting off to be one heck of a day. Luckily, we still had a record of them on our phone to get us inside).
Once inside, a security guard checked my purse and a docent gave us an introduction to the museum. We arrived just in time to catch the presentation in the Holovision Theater It was complete with holographic ghosts and a human presenter called Ghosts of the Library. I couldn’t take pictures inside, but it was a great show with special effects explaining the activities and detective work involved with the discoveries that go into the Presidential Museum. We went right from there to the second theater, the Union Theater, where they were presenting a fully automated, special effects presentation called “Lincoln’s Eyes”. It presented the personal and political dramas and key issues of Lincoln’s presidency, including slavery. Again, I couldn’t take pictures, but the special effects literally shook me off of my seat. It was awesome! From there, we walked to the Journey 1 area: the Pre-Presidential years. We were able to walk through a replica of Lincoln’s boyhood log home in Indiana where he lived with seven other people. The inside was set up to look like it was back in that time when Abe lived there as a boy.
Next, we visited the area, Journey 2: White House Years. This is a replica of the front of the White House as it appeared in 1861.
The Lincoln family is posed here as they looked when they lived in the White House. Can you see me there?
Upon entering, we stepped into the White House “Blue Room” where Mary is being fitted for a ball gown. Around the room are reproductions of the ball gowns worn by her social rivals of the time.
In another room, they depicted the famous debate between Lincoln and Douglas when Lincoln ran for office.
There was a lot to read and see. This was part of a moving map timeline that showed how the Civil War progressed, showing the important battles and how the North-South line changed as the war raged on. This was the final count for the loss of life at the end of the Civil War. That was shocking!
I found these sequential pictures interesting to show Lincoln as he aged from the time he was elected President to the time he was assassinated.
I learned some new things about Lincoln and that time period after spending 2 1/2 hours at the museum. It is an amazing place to visit. We left there and walked down the street to the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office. Lincoln and his law partner, William Herndon rented space in the building to practice law from 1843 to 1852.
Also on that same street was the Old State Capitol. It is where Lincoln served his final term as an Illinois state legislator. This is also where he tried several hundred cases before the Illinois Supreme Court located here as a lawyer. Lincoln’s body lay in state in this building after he was assassinated where 75,000 mourners came to bid farewell.
We jumped back in the Jeep to drive to the First Presbyterian where Abraham and Mary Lincoln paid a fee to rent pew 20 at this church. I love those beautiful red doors. Despite the pew rental, Lincoln never joined this church or any other church.
We also checked out the State Capitol Building, a beautiful piece of architecture. It was built in 1868 and the first legislative session took place in the new Capitol in 1877. Designed in the shape of a Latin cross and capped by a 361-foot high dome, the building stands 74 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol.
Our last stop was the Cozy Dog Drive-in on Route 66 for lunch. I read it was THE place to go.
The restaurant is a shrine to Route 66 and is an iconic diner. Here is the menu. When was the last time you bought a hot dog for $2.30? We did the drive-thru and ordered…you guessed it! Hot dogs! (A cozy dog is what we call a corn dog, but better they say.)
We got back to the bus at 2:30. Bob wanted to wash the Jeep, so he took Auggie and went up to the shady section of the campground to do it. Auggie enjoyed his time outside while Bob washed the Jeep. I stayed in the bus and worked on this blog. About 45 minutes later, Bob returned with Auggie and we had dinner. Tomorrow we leave for Paducah, Kentucky and have a longer drive ahead of us. We have enjoyed our history lesson here in Springfield, IL. We were watching the weather forecast on TV from Springfield and got a kick out of these weather maps.
We hope you’re having good weather wherever you are!