Saturday, June 4, 2011

Lincoln's City

If "Land of Lincoln" is the state slogan of Illinois (which, in fact, it is), then the "City of Lincoln" might well befit the state capital, Springfield.

As the Lincoln Home brochure reads: "A self-taught lawyer with only one year of frontier schooling, Abraham Lincoln rode his horse into Springfield in 1837 with all his belongings in two saddlebags."

While living in Springfield, Lincoln enjoyed great success as a lawyer and was considered one of the state's best courtroom attorneys.

Located on the south side of the square facing the Old State Capitol, this is the only building (right) still standing in which Lincoln had a law office.

In May 1844, the Lincolns purchased the Dresser home, shown here as it looked in 1860 after renovations over the years.

Mr. Lincoln was an animal lover, and Fido, his "mustard colored mutt," often accompanied him as he went around Springfield. However,Fido was more of an "inside" dog and seemed to think that a horse hair sofa in the house was his own personal domain.

Fido was terrified both of cannon fire and trains, so when making plans to leave for Washington, the Lincolns decided that Fido would have a hard time dealing with the train trip to Washington.

Lincoln hated to part with Fido, but out of concern for the the dog, Lincoln placed Fido in the care of John Roll and his family. The Rolls were asked never to scold Fido for coming into the house with muddy paws, to never tie Fido up in their yard alone, and to allow him into the house when he scratched on the door.

The Lincolns gave the Rolls their horse hair sofa so that Fido would feel more at home.

A stereopticon and some pictures are on the table in this photo above.

The interesting feature of the kitchen of the 1860s is the heighth (or lack thereof) of the stove and tables.

Working at a stove that close to the floor today would be truly back-breaking.

Two qualities of the boys' bedroom (left) and the bedroom in the next two photos were of interest to us. One is the quality of the woodwork on the beds. The story of Lincoln's early years always had him living in a log cabin, but those (folk) stories did not include the home of a successful lawyer.

The other feature that caught our eye is the colorful features of the room. The large patterns on the wallpaper and the colorful pattern of the rugs on the floor were unexpected. This much color was in contrast to the black attire worn by Mr. Lincoln in photographs.

Surrounding his home of seventeen years is a four-block area containing twelve historic structures dating back to Lincoln's time.

On February 11, 1861, Lincoln left Springfield on his Inaugural journey to Washington D.C. as President-elect. He made an impromptu speech that day from the Great Western Depot (right) before departing Springfield for the last time.

The speech, known as Lincoln's Farewell Address, began: "My friends - No one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting.

"To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything."

The day that we visited Lincoln's Tomb was an overcast day with the threat of thunderstorms. The gray skies seemed somehow appropriate to the somber mood of the tomb.

The 117-foot Tomb, designed by sculptor Larkin Mead, is constructed of brick sheathed with Quincy granite.

At the corners of the shaft, large pedestals serve as bases for four bronze sculptures, each with a group of figures representing one of the four Civil War services--infantry, artillery, cavalry, and navy.

This sculp-ture (right) is for the infantry, showing the group preparing to charge.

The south entrance opens into a rotunda, where two corridors lead into the burial chamber. Interior rooms of the Tomb are finished in a highly polished marble trimmed with bronze.

The rotunda and corridors contain reduced-scale reproductions of important Lincoln statues as well as plaques with excerpts from Lincoln’s Springfield farewell speech, the Gettysburg Address, and his Second Inaugural Address.

Lincoln’s remains rest in a concrete vault ten feet below the marble floor of the burial chamber. A massive granite cenotaph marking the gravesite is flanked by the Presidential flag and flags of the states in which the Lincoln family resided.

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