Springfield, IL Day 2 - 06/15/2011

Published at 9:00 PM in ,

Welcome to Springfield

Today was absolutely beautiful in Springfield! The weather was just warm enough and the sun was shining.  We started today off by going to the state capitol in downtown Springfield.  It is the most incredible building I have ever seen!  It looks more like a cathedral than a government building, and it towers over downtown Springfield.  This capitol building, replacing the original one, cost over $4 million dollars to build in the late 1800s.  What would that be in today's money?  They actually came in under budget by a little over six dollars.  UNDER budget.  Who knew government could do THAT?

Illinois state capitol

Inside, the dome goes straight up and is filled with beautiful stained glass.  The inside of the House and Senate chambers are just as decorative, and the ceiling is done with gold and bronze.  This picture really doesn't do the dome justice, but you get the idea.

Illinois capitol dome - inside view

On the second floor, bronze statues of famous Illinois figures surround the balcony.  Of course Abraham Lincoln is there, along with Stephen Douglas, who was a Senator and famous from debating Lincoln.  These statues are done in actual height.  Lincoln towers over six feet, and Douglas was obviously much shorter.

Abraham Lincoln

The 'Little Giant' Stephen Douglas

After touring the capitol, we headed over to the Lincoln Home historical site.  This is a national park and covers about four city blocks.  It is amazing how they have been able to restore the area to look so much like it did in Lincoln's time.  Following his death, the city immediately started to preserve his home for history and future generations. His home has been restored and cared for and it is easy to get the feel of what it must have been like to live there.  The Lincolns paid $1500 for the home when they purchased it, and as their family and Lincoln's prominence grew, they added another floor to the home.    The National Park Service has included not only period-accurate pieces in the home, but original pieces, as well.  Lincoln's desk and wardrobe are among those.  Can't you picture Lincoln sitting there, writing a great argument for a court case, or planning his next speech?

Lincoln's writing desk

Lincoln's wardrobe
The Lincolns had separate bedrooms, as was a common practice during that time, primarily because their youngest two sons stayed in their mother's room.  In Mary Lincoln's bedroom there were also original pieces.  There is a chest of drawers and a rocker.  She must have used that rocker to rock her sleepy boys.

Mary Lincoln's chest and rocker

Every summer Springfield hosts "History Comes Alive" in which live performances and reenactments bring the history alive to visitors.  One such example is Abraham Lincoln can be seen around town, having coffee and conversation with visitors at Springfield's oldest home, or perhaps visiting with them in his own backyard.  The actor that plays Lincoln is quite talented, and stays in character.  We caught Lincoln walking down the street towards his home.  Of course we had to stop him to take a picture.  It was a little freaky (as the kids put it) to see Lincoln just strolling down the street...HIS street!  Of course we know it wasn't THE Lincoln, but it was still pretty cool.  It caught everyone by surprise.  People were just standing there staring with their mouths open!

With President Lincoln

After all this history, we were starving, and this super-helpful park ranger suggested a great historical restaurant to try.  It's called the Cozy Dog Drive-In, located on the original Route 66.  The Cozy Dog owner was the inventor of the first corn-dog.  I'm not a corn-dog fan, but Jim is.  So since they had chili dogs, corn-dogs, burgers, and chicken, we headed over there for a quick dinner and pictures.  It was a fun little place with very interesting people.  The food was pretty good and priced right, so I'd recommend it if you are ever there.

The Cozy Dog Drive-in

We are leaving tomorrow, headed for Chicago, so check back for updates.  More pictures are available on our Photo Gallery page.  To leave comments, you must log in with your information from signing up as a Follower.  For most people, this will be a Google account you created.  I hope this helps those that have been trying to leave comments.  Talk to you all soon!

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1 Response to Springfield, IL Day 2 - 06/15/2011

June 18, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Hey Lisa and family...loving your updates!!

I just wanted to let your readers know...if they are having trouble posting comments...After you click "post comment" and it takes you to the sign in page, UNcheck the box that says "stay signed in." Once I did that, I was able to log in and comment! Hope that helps!

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