10 Amazing Abraham Lincoln Sites to Explore in Illinois (2021)
If Illinois is proud of one achievement for and from centuries, it definitely will be Abraham Lincoln. Even before his U.S. presidency, Lincoln blessed the Prairie state with his life and career learnings. Illinois is where Lincoln pursued his Law career, served in the State legislature and even represented it in the U.S. House of Representatives. Not only that, the 16th U.S. President’s last resting place too happens to be a part of Illinois. The Prairie State, though is not where Lincoln was born, but is the place where he built his life and afterlife.
Illinois, also known as the Land of Lincoln, has several attractions where one can learn about the former President’s life. You can explore a lot, from museums to historic structures, prominent buildings, and leading global libraries. While most of the Abraham Lincoln Sites are based in Springfield, a few of them are also within Chicago City.
10 Amazing Abraham Lincoln Sites to Explore In Illinois
To learn more about them, have a look at our itinerary below:
1. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is a place that shows Lincoln’s immersive journey for life and nation. Even though Lincoln has never physically been here, the museum holds his best collection of lifetimes. Located in Springfield, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library is one of the world’s most visited presidential libraries.
The museum today holds several photographs, artefacts, documents maintaining Lincoln’s legacy. It operates special effects theatres and state-of-the-art full-immersion exhibits for making it a fascinating and capturing experience.
While the museum building is open seven days a week, one can access the library only during weekdays. It is by far the best Lincoln Sites you cannot miss exploring in Illinois for any history seekers.
2. Lincoln (Abraham) Park
United States’ second most-visited city park, the Lincoln (Abraham) Park, is a delight to explore. This 1,208-acre park is located in the north of Chicago and has so much to do and see. Begin with the 1890 conservatory and observe plants from all around the world. Even though the site is full of museums and other tourist attractions, statuary here takes the limelight. From the Signal of peace to Dream Lady and Statue of Alexender Hamilton, there’s a lot not able to observe. Lincoln Park also offers access to 7 public Illinois beaches, 18 miles of Lakefront trail, golfing and other prominent facilities. The Park is also home to the popular tourist attraction of Chicago, the Lincoln Park Zoo. It is home to a wide variety of animals and is absolutely free to explore.
3. Old State Capitol
A must-visit in Springfield’s tourism list, the Old State Capitol takes back to the historic days of the 1800s. The building served as State Capitol from 1840 to 1876 and today serves as a National Historic Landmark. The site is associated with former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and his famous rival, Stephan Arnold Douglas. Lincoln even delivered his famous speech ‘the House Divided’ from Representative Hall here. Old State Capitol is operating throughout the week from 9 am to 5 pm. The building is handicapped accessible and is available on both reservation and first-come-first-serve basis. If you happen to be in Springfield, this Abraham Lincoln site is something you cannot miss exploring.
4. Lincoln House (Lincoln Home National Historic Site)
The Lincoln Home National Historic Site is a beautiful site preserved and presented for Lincoln lovers in Springfield. It is basically a historic district that is home to the only house Abraham Lincoln owned in his lifetime. Before becoming the 16th U.S. president, Lincoln and his family spend nearly 17 years (from 1844 to 1861) here. The sight today includes a home, a visitors’ centre and four other blocks surrounding it. Everything here is restored to look exactly like how it was back in the 1800s. Visitors can walk inside the Arnold House the Dean House and learn about Lincoln’s life, time and neighbours. With excellent atmospheric recreation, the Lincoln House tour in Springfield truly humanizes him.
5. Lincoln’s Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery
Oak Ridge Cemetery is the famous American Cemetery located in Springfield, the capital city of Illinois. It is also the final resting of 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Along with Lincoln, his wife and three sons too were buried here. Lincoln’s death was the most famous Presidential Death in American history, which makes this tomb more prominent. Upon crossing the Cemetery’s entrance, you will come across several small statues of Lincoln. Finally, you will reach the popular Lincoln tomb, which is standing right above his grave. As per a known tradition, visitors stand right in front of the tomb and rub their noses, which is believed to be good luck. The Oak Ridge Cemetery in itself is peaceful and a must-visit when in Springfield.
6. Lincoln’s New Salem
Lincoln’s New Salem is a historic site that exhibits how Salem looked when Abraham Lincoln was young. Before becoming the most influential U.S. President, Lincoln used to stay here during his twenties. He lived here from 1831 to 1837 as a boatman and soldier in Black Hawk War. Later in 1840, the village was abandoned. Quiet later, in 1921, the village got listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Further, it gave birth to New Salem, which has welcomed nearly 1 million visitors and history lovers. While you walk down the streets here, it will take you two centuries back. When in Illinois, do consider visiting Lincoln’s New Salem.
7. Lincoln Memorial Garden and Nature Centre
Another walk into nature’s lap will take you straight into the Lincoln Memorial Garden and Nature Centre. It is a memorial woodland and prairie garden designed by Jens Jensen, a famous landscape architect. The Memorial Garden has two prime units, including the Ostermeier Prairie Centre section and the Jensen section. Today visitors can walk through five miles of walking trails and footbridges, enjoying the bright views around. From photographers to birdwatchers, nature enthusiasts and artists, who will find 100s of fellow visitors here. If you happen to visit Springfield in October, make sure to attend the Indian Summer Festival in the garden.
8. The Edward Palace
The Edward Palace is a stunning antebellum mansion or a historic house located in Springfield. It is one of the oldest houses in Springfield that belongs to the year 1833. During the initial years, Edward Palace became a prominent political centre. The 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln even gave a speech from the second-story window of the house. During Lincoln’s funeral, it also hosted guests who came to Springfield. Today, several of his family possessions are held in the house. Today anyone can take a guided tour and learn about the old-time stories of the house.
9. The Lincoln Family Church
While you are exploring the Abraham Lincoln sites in Illinois, do not forget to add the Lincoln Family Church to your itinerary. The church you see today is a prominent Lincoln site that Abraham Lincoln never visited himself. However, in July 1882, the church held Mrs Lincoln’s funeral. There’s a stained-glass window here that features President Lincoln in the middle accompanied by Clara Barton & Florence Nightingale side. Today from June through September, the Lincoln family Church organize guided tours on weekends. The tour begins from 10 am to 4 pm and are open for everyone.
10. Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices
The Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices is another Abraham Lincoln site in Springfield, built back in the year 1841. You can reach here right at the 6th and Adams Streets and explore the buildings from inside. This historic red brick building has a Lincoln and family statue out front and a marvellous visitors centre inside. There’s also a recreation of an old post office, several law offices upstairs and a huge courtroom. Even though small, but the American History and Lincoln’s career display here is interesting and amazing. The staff at the visitor’s centre is quite educated with the information and history of the place. Visitors can opt for self-guided tours or opt for separate guides.