Celebrating Lincoln’s Birthday in Springfield

Picture this: you’re in Springfield, excited for Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, but you have no idea how to celebrate. Lucky for you, we have plenty of tips to make the day spectacular!

Even though it’s cold, we would definitely recommend going to the Lincoln sites if you have the opportunity. If you’ve never seen them before, the Lincoln sites in town are actually really cool and worth seeing at least once while you’re in Springfield. One notable spot on campus is the Lincoln statue, so for Lincoln’s birthday this year, we’re showing off the many different Lincoln statues and sites in Springfield.

The first Lincoln you should stop to see is downtown at the Capitol. That’s one of the most iconic spots in Springfield, so you’ll definitely want to stop by and take a picture! The current capitol building wasn’t built until the late 1870s, so if you want to step back into history, head to the Old State Capitol. Lincoln and even Barack Obama announced their candidacies for president there, and, if you’re really interested, you can go inside for a tour. Due to COVID regulations, you’ll need to book a reservation online for the Old State Capitol, and unfortunately, the current capitol building is closed for tours.

If you just want to walk around outside, however, you’ll still be able to see the statue of Lincoln and his family that sits outside the Old State Capitol and in front of the Lincoln Herndon Law Offices where Lincoln worked in the 1840s. Across from the entrance to the Old State Capitol is the Prairie Archives. It’s an amazing used book store, but if you’re looking to save your money, you can borrow some incredible Lincoln-related books from Brookens Library instead.

The next stop on your tour of Springfield should be Union Station, a former train station that opened in 1898. There are two iconic Lincoln statues outside, one of the 16th president sitting on a bench, which makes for an excellent photo op, and one of a larger-than-life Lincoln with words from his first inaugural address. If you’re fascinated by the words of Abe, the library has some perfect books for you on our cloudLibrary service! Some personal recommendations would be 100 Quotes by Abraham Lincoln and Conversations with Lincoln.

After you finish up at the station, you can head across the street to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. There are plenty of learning opportunities and cool statues inside the museum that are sure to grab your attention. From the museum, head to Lincoln’s home next. There aren’t any notable statues, but it’s definitely worth the stop. A short walk down from Lincoln’s home is the Lincoln Library, Springfield’s public library. There’s a very cool abstract statue of Lincoln outside that is certain to draw your attention, but if the books are what you’re interested in, you can apply for a Lincoln Library eCard if you attend UIS and live in Springfield. 

The last stop on the Abraham Lincoln Springfield tour is Lincoln’s Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery. The tomb has a storied history, with its first tribulation occurring in 1876 when a plan was devised by a Chicago counterfeiter to steal Lincoln’s body. After the plot failed, Lincoln’s coffin was moved to a secret location in the basement of the tomb and stayed there until 1878. A series of movements and tomb reconstructions took place until 1931, with the coffin being moved a total of 17 times and opened 5 times from the time when Lincoln’s body initially came to rest in Springfield to now.

For more information on the intriguing history of Lincoln’s grave, Brookens has copies of Stealing Lincoln’s Body and The Great Abraham Lincoln Hijack that you can check out. You can also still go inside and view Lincoln’s Tomb during this time of COVID, and you need to make sure you don’t forget to rub Lincoln’s nose for some good luck for the rest of the semester!

If you think Springfield is boring or dull with nothing fun to do, you should definitely check out these sites and celebrate Lincoln’s birthday in style!

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