Historical Illinois: Lincoln’s Living Legacy

Where Honest Abe lived, worked and made history

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Only in Illinois can you fully experience the remarkable life of Abraham Lincoln. In this land he called home, Lincoln’s legacy isn’t contained behind glass. It’s alive, up close and personal. Here, you can walk through the village that defined his humble upbringing. Retrace his day-to-day life in Springfield and take an emotional journey through Lincoln’s life at his must-see presidential museum.


Experience a modern-day interpretation of Lincoln’s life at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. Discover one of the largest and most visited museums of its kind, a place where priceless artifacts and immersive exhibits reveal the complexities of Lincoln’s life. Through innovative storytelling, visitors experience the toll of slavery, witness the tragedy of the Civil War and feel the pressure and criticisms surrounding Lincoln’s presidency. Start your Lincoln experience here and suddenly the sites around Springfield become even more poignant when you see them in person.

At the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, see the exact spot where Abe hung his stovepipe hat in the only home he ever owned. Explore the surrounding historic neighborhood lined with period-style homes, exhibits and wood-planked sidewalks.

In the shadow of the Old State Capitol, you’ll find the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site. In this building Lincoln practiced law from 1843 to 1852. A guided tour ties stories to the artifacts here, including the desk where Lincoln penned his inaugural address.

At the Old State Capitol State Historic Site, walk through the hallowed halls frequented by Lincoln as both a lawyer and politician. In 1858, he delivered his famous “House Divided” speech in the Capitol’s Representatives Hall.

At the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site, visit the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Step inside the tomb’s rotunda where plaques keep Lincoln’s legacy alive with excerpts from his Springfield farewell speech, the Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural address.

Throughout summer, re-enactors bring the 1800s to life by descending on Lincoln sites around Springfield. Impeccably dressed, knowledgeable and always in character, these historic figures (including Mr. Lincoln himself) can be seen delivering speeches, mingling among the locals and sharing vivid stories from the days when Abe made his home here.

New Salem

Explore historic New Salem, a meticulously reconstructed 1830s village where Lincoln lived as a young adult and began his political career. Everything from the period re-enactors to the blacksmith’s workshop gives visitors a glimpse into what life was really like when young, burly Abe was throwing down his axe. Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site is about a 30-minute drive northwest of Springfield.

This itinerary is compliments of the Illinois Office of Tourism.

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