Being in the Illinois state capitol and the ‘land of Lincoln’ today was spent visiting many of the Lincoln sites around the city.
We started off at the Oakridge Cemetery, where Abraham Lincoln, his wife and 3 of his 4 sons are entombed. The cemetery alone is full of history and worth a visit but we didn’t have enough time to wander today.
The tomb itself is beautiful…17 feet tall obelisk with several statues around it, and of course one of Lincoln himself.
You are allowed to walk within the tomb to view the sarcophagus where Lincoln once lied. Unfortunately, his remains were removed and buried 10 feet below the sarcophagus due to looters.
Behind the tomb is the receiving vault where Lincoln and his son, Willie, were temporarily laid to rest. He stayed there for approximately 7 months until they were moved to the temporary vault, where they stayed for almost 6 years until the actual tomb was completed.
The Lincoln Museum and Library was the next stop on our Lincoln itinerary. Our military IDs got us admittance for $7 each and it was well worth it. We watched a very interesting 17 minute video and walked through the many exhibits depicting Lincoln’s life from childhood to his presidency and death.
Several of the exhibits were ‘hands-on’ and of course most everything once belonged to Lincoln or someone related to him in one way or another.
It took us a little over 2 hours to go through the museum and by that time it was lunch time and we headed to Charlie Parker’s Diner to try out the famous horseshoe. Diner’s, Drive-in’s and Dive’s did a show here several years ago and the place had good reviews so we decided it was the place for lunch.
A horseshoe consists of bread, meat, french fries and cheese sauce. Originally the meat was ham but they’re now made with hamburger, bacon, sausage, turkey, chicken breast, pork tenderloin, walleye or buffalo chicken and you can get them with tater tots instead of fries….OR you can just get a breakfast horseshoe. You can read more about the origins of the horseshoe HERE.
The place is only open until 2:00 pm and we had about a 15 minute wait for a table but it went quickly. We both decided to go with a horseshoe…what else?? Michael went with the hamburger and I went with the original ham. We were both very happy with our choices…very yummy and reasonable too at $7.99…and it’s a LOT of food.
After lunch we were ready for some more touring so it was on to the Lincoln Home. This is the home where the Lincoln’s lived for 17 years before he became president.
The home and surrounding neighborhood are part of the National Parks system so one of the first things we did when we went to the visitors center to pick up our free tickets for a tour of the home was to stamp our Passport book.
The tour was led by a park ranger and lasted about 20 minutes. Our ranger was informative but kinda ‘blah’ so it made the tour kinda ‘blah’. We’ve taken tours of many different historic homes so with the ‘blah’ ranger it didn’t end up being anything other than a tour of an old home.
After the tour we walked around the neighborhood reading the displays in front of each home about its former occupants. There were a couple of the homes that had exhibits in them that were interesting little extras.
After finishing up at the Lincoln Home we did a couple of stops at other historic sites around the city center. The Lincoln Depot is the train station where Lincoln spoke to the people of Springfield from the back of a train car when he left Springfield as president-elect.
Just a few short blocks from the Lincoln Home was the family church…the First Presbyterian Church where the family attended services. The pew for which they paid an unknown amount to be able to sit in each Sunday is still at the church, which you can tour.
Lincoln practiced law for nearly 25 years and one of his original office buildings still stands today – the Lincoln Hearndon Law Office sits on the corner of 6th and Adams Streets and can normally be toured but is currently going under renovations so we had to be happy with a quick picture.
Directly across the street is the Old State Capitol building. My internet research showed it was closed on Sunday’s but a sign out front showed ‘new hours’ with it being open on Sundays. Awesome!
We strolled around the old building checking out all of the different rooms – law library, the senate chambers, the representative chambers, committee rooms, etc. Very interesting to see the inner workings.
Across the street from the Old Capitol Michael spied a Coldstone Creamery which sounded pretty darn good after all of the walking we’d been doing. We enjoyed our treat and being able to rest our weary feet.
Our last stop…or ‘drive by’ was the new Capitol Building which is just a few blocks away. Ground was broke in 1869 for the ‘new’ building and not completed for 20 years. Although you are able to ‘tour’ the building it was too late in the day for us to do so…we were happy with our ‘drive by’ and by that time we were ready to go home and put our feet up.