Why You Should Visit The Lincoln Home National Historic Site
On your way to explore the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois, you’ll find other major historic attractions in the region such as the Lincoln Log Cabin, the Vandalia Statehouse, and the Looking for Lincoln Story Trail. Obviously there’s plenty to see, but not everyone does. As is so often the case, the people who live in southernmost Illinois are sometimes the ones least likely to experience the history attached to these places!
You might not know that Abraham Lincoln’s parents, Thomas and Sara Bush (who was his stepmother), were two of the first to settle the local area. Historians have preserved as much of the mid-1800s landmarks as possible so people will know what it was like to live in Lincoln’s shoes when times were simpler.
Charleston was also the agreed upon arena where the fourth Lincoln Douglas Debate occurred. 12,000 people were there to see the grand spectacle. That was a lot of people back then!
The Lincoln Home National Historic Site in downtown Springfield marks the site on which Lincoln’s only house stood. Abraham and Mary lived there together for seventeen years. It was built in 1839 and opened to public tours starting in 1887. Since then it was restored to appear as it did in 1860.
The Lincolns raised four sons in that home, and one even died there. The two-floor building houses twelve rooms. In addition to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, you’ll also be able to visit the nearby Lincoln Tomb while exploring Springfield.
Those who wish to see it should be ready for a wait unless they’re in line early, because hundreds of thousands of tourists fight over a spot on the free 15-person tours every day. If interested, you must acquire a ticket in the Lincoln Home Visitor Center. Tours last an average of 25 minutes. You’ll be walked through the formal parlor, sitting room, dining room, guest bedroom, Abraham Lincoln’s bedroom, Mary Lincoln’s bedroom, two more bedrooms meant for a child and/or the hired help, kitchen, and then outside in the backyard to explore the other buildings on the property.
If you would prefer to take a virtual tour, you may do so online.
Other historic buildings still standing in Springfield include the Old State Capitol (Abraham Lincoln served there during his time as a state legislator) and the Lincoln Depot. These landmarks are some of the greatest reminders of our past, and travelers should put them on the collective bucket list to ensure they continue to thrive well into the future!