Springfield, Illinois is all about Abe Lincoln.
The sixteenth president had a law practice there as a young man, which is where he wrote his inaugural address. I know this from the plaque plastered on the wall of the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices, underscored by the life-size statue of Abe and Mary Todd in the square out front.
Abe himself may not have been ostentatious, but his memory is larger than life. Everyone wants a piece of presidential history. A brief walk around Springfield’s streets will lead you to several “momentous” Lincoln locales, such as the Mason lodge. Lincoln was not a member, but he “probably would have gone there” the plaque tells us, because he liked oysters… and the lodge served them.
In addition to the Lincoln Home and the Lincoln Library, which we skipped, Springfield is also home to the Lincoln Tomb. Tucked away in an unassuming gated cemetary is a miniature Washington Monument, replete with statues of the president and a 7 ton headstone. Lincoln himself rests ten feet below the marble floor, encased in concrete, like a modern-day pharoah.
Not to be left out, St. Louis also laid its claim to a piece of Lincoln history, prominently marking one hotel with the words “Lincoln slept here.” They probably served oysters.
But more on St. Louis later…