Postcards from Lincoln Land
Although Abraham Lincoln spent most of his formative years in Indiana, he lived for 24 years in Springfield, Illinois. So if you are an admirer of our 16th president (and who isn’t?) you ought to avail yourself of the opportunity to visit this small city and state capitol.
The layout of the town is based on a grid street system, with numbered streets starting with the longitudinal First Street which leads to the Illinois State Capitol. The cross streets are named after presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and so on just like the town I live in. We could walk everywhere from our centrally located hotel. Luckily the weather was balmy and the temperature moderate for August.
We went to the magnificent Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
I was impressed. You start your tour in a replica of the log cabin Abe grew up in
and end up at the White House. In between there are many vignettes,
complete with sound effects, music and characters speaking. By the end Lincoln has been shot at Ford’s theater and is lying in state. It is an incredibly moving experience. I seriously was close to tears several times.
There is also a cool hologram presentation and a movie–all very well done. It was “experiential”–but not interactive (which I loathe).
Usually I like Museum gift shops, but I was turned off in this one by the crass commercialization of our most revered president.
Really? Couzies with the Gettysburg Address? I mean really, there was Abe Lincoln everything. Good grief, Charlie Brown!
We also visited the only home he ever owned, which is open to the public and operated by the National Park Service.
There are several other houses to visit in this park and you really do get a sense of what the town must have been like in the mid-19th century. To me it was awesome to stand in the great man’s lovely home.
As always, it was fascinating to see the other people who made the pilgrimage to Springfield. They ranged from classy Japanese tourists
to this guy.
But whoever and whatever their reasons–I am always pleased to see people visiting historical sites.
In between all this history we made several stops to eat and drink.
There were many more places of interest we did not get to: Lincoln’s Tomb, the Old State Capitol,
the Dana-Thomas House (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) and the Vachel Lindsay House. Perhaps we shall return another day.
Because, you know, road trips are the best!