July 29, 2015
Today would be a day of sightseeing all the Lincoln historical sites. We slept in, but got an early start and were gone from the campground by 9:30. The locals have told us that the heat index here in Springfield has been over 105 for the last week with high humidity. I’m glad it’s not going to be that hot while we’re here. We found an underground parking lot near the center of town for 75 cents per 30 minutes. We had to go down into this tunnel-type structure that was built under the Old Capitol building. It was pretty eerie and had this “closed-in” feeling. I’m sure it only gave us inches to spare for clearance. It was really tight!
We climbed out of the parking structure and started our day at the Visitor’s Center where we picked up a walking tour map. We also found out that we could get a parking pass to park free on the street and a coupon for $5 off each ticket to the Lincoln Museum. We would need to move our truck, so I waited for Bob to move the truck from the underground parking lot to the street.
Our first walking stop was to get a ticket at the Lincoln Home Welcome Center for a 12:00 tour of the Lincoln Home Historical Site. In walking there, we crossed Capitol Ave., where we got a great view of the State Capitol, built in 1868. It is 405 ft. tall to the tip of the flagpole making it the tallest building in Central Illinois. It extends more than 3 blocks long.
We also passed by the First Presbyterian Church which contains the pew used by the Lincoln family from 1852-61.
The church was closed so we couldn’t go in.
The Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices were also on our walking tour route. It is the only structure in which Lincoln maintained law offices. Lincoln practiced law on the 3rd floor from 1843-1852.
We were headed to the Old State Capitol, built in 1837. Lincoln gave his “house divided” speech here in 1858. After Lincoln’s assassination his body lay in state in the House Chambers.
We came to the Old Capitol building for an 11:00 presentation. “Lincoln” was going to talk in the House Chambers about the Battle of Gettyburg and all the people who died up to that point in the war. He spoke of the events and his feelings leading up to when he gave his Gettyburg Address.
The man who portrayed Lincoln looked and sounded amazing and did a wonderful job of giving us the full experience. It was like we were seeing and hearing Lincoln in person.
We continued to tour the building after the performance and even got in with one of the tour guides who was taking people around to all the rooms. The rooms contained the State Library and the Supreme Court. This is the Supreme Courtroom, but there were only 4 Supreme Court justices at the time. Now we have 9.
The Secretary of State had an office there as well.
We returned at our appointed time of 12:00 for our tour of Lincoln’s Home. This was the only home Lincoln ever owned. It was built in 1839 and purchased by Lincoln in 1844. It has been restored to look at it did in the 1860’s. The Lincoln family lived there for 17 years, expanding it to two stories. Only 20% of the furniture is original and the rest are reproductions.
The black horsehide furniture is original in the formal parlor/office where Lincoln was asked by the representatives of the Republican National Convention in May of 1860 to be the party’s presidential nominee.
This original desk was Lincoln’s. It seemed a little small for his tall frame.
This bed is a reproduction of the bed Lincoln slept in with his 6’4″ body. It didn’t seem quite long enough. Men and women slept in separate rooms because the children slept in trundle beds near the mother so she could tend to them. Mary Lincoln had migranes so she had her own bedroom for that reason as well. Believe it or not, it was also a status symbol to be able to afford a house with separate bedrooms.
In climbing the stairs to the second floor, we were allowed to touch the original railing that Lincoln used when we climbed the stairs. That was a heady thought! How awesome! It was a great tour and we had a very knowledgeable guide. After our tour, it was lunch time, so we stopped at Obed and Isaac Microbrewery and Eatery for a brew and some lunch.
We enjoyed two of the local brews and enjoyed sitting in the AC at the bar.
After lunch, we spent 2 hours at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
It was an amazing place with this replica of Lincoln’s boyhood home.
There was also this lifelike diorama of Lincoln and his family standing in front of the White House. Can you find us in the picture?
The museum had awesome lifelike dioramas, displays, and exhibits of historic items. There were multimedia presentations of Lincoln’s entire life from childhood through his years as President during the Civil War to his assassination at Ford’s Theater. We really enjoyed our time spent in the museum. The Presidential Abraham Lincoln Library is located across the street from the museum in an identical looking building.
This beautiful building is not original, but was made to look like it was built around the same time period. It is Union Station and Gardens.
We had concluded our walking tour around 2:00 and after fueling up the truck, headed back to the campground around 3:00. We were happy to be in the AC after spending much of the day walking around the city in the heat and humidity. Auggie was glad to see us and we were glad to relax after a day of sightseeing. We had dinner and took our evening walk after things cooled off. Tomorrow would be an early day as we head for Branson, Missouri.