Monday, July 29, 2013

The Land of Lincoln

It was so wonderful to leave town with my boys for a little bit last Friday and travel up to the Land of Lincoln for the day! Eric and I have a love for U.S. History, and we especially enjoy visiting anything to do with our past presidents. Last summer we toured the libraries and home of President Truman, and we knew that before this summer was over that we needed to go to Springfield and check out Mr. Lincoln's old haunts.

We toured Lincoln's home, the old capitol building, the Lincoln museum, and we even visited Lincoln's tomb. Add in a stop for lunch and we were gone from about 8:00 in the morning and home around 8:00pm, so if you live near us, this is the perfect day trip! Pardon me if I nerd out a bit today, I just love this stuff. :)


After two hours in the car, our first stop was to explore the area and find some lunch. We had tickets to tour the Lincoln home at 11:40, so we had to find something quickly. We ended up in a little cafe called Z Bistro. (I think, haha.) 



Reagan is such a good traveling baby. He was happy to be out of the car and having a snack. :)

After lunch we walked back to the Lincoln home to wait for our tour time. 


I had butterflies waiting outside of Abraham Lincoln's house. Eeeee - his actual house! Apparently it's now state law for every student in Illinois to visit this place, but that wasn't so when I was in school. I had never been here before. Lincoln is by far my favorite president, and both Eric and I were really excited.



One thing you can't help but notice (and that the tour guide will make sure to point out) is how small the furniture was. Knowing that Lincoln was a tall guy makes it kind of hilarious trying to picture him sitting in the little chairs. :) So it makes sense that his favorite spot in the home was stretching out on the floor in front of the fireplace. 


Reagan was amazed by all of the information we were taking in.

Haha.

The dining room. Either that tour guide needs a nap, or he just encountered Lincoln's ghost.

This is the informal living room where the family would hang out. They had two house cats, and Mr. Lincoln loved them. :)

Upstairs there are five bedrooms - including separate master suites for Abe and Mary. 


Not all of the furniture in the home is original, but this piece is. Mr. Lincoln spent many late nights up at this desk. Have you ever missed someone you've never even met? I have. I miss this guy. Sigh....


Here's a peek into the boy's room. Do you see the marbles in the bottom right of the photo?


Those are actual marbles that the Lincoln boys played with - amazing! They were all dug up in the back yard, haha, and guess where they were found? Near the out house. According to archeologists, some of the BEST stuff that is ever dug up is found around out houses, which I think is really funny.

The Lincoln boys were typical little kids - very mischievous! Just outside of this window there is a balcony, and the boys used to sneak out there to play. One day they broke a piece of the railing outside, and no one ever repaired it. Their mama was not a happy camper abut that. :)


Back down the stairs is a tiny kitchen. This stove is original to the house and was purchased by Mary while the family lived here. 

It was at this point in the tour that the guides shared that living in this house was probably the highlight of the Lincoln's family lives. Once Mr. Lincoln won the presidency and moved to the White House, it was nothing but tragedy for them. The war, losing another child, and all of the stressors that came with being president made for some very hard final years of Lincoln's life. Abraham and Mary probably looked back on the years they spent with their family in this home with great fondness. Made me tear up a little bit. :)

Part of the tour included a trip outside to the fenced in backyard. Most yards were fenced in to keep roaming critters out. Wild animals were often found out in the streets!


On the back of the home you can see the pipes that ran down from the gutters and went underground. This was where rainwater was collected for the family to use for washing things, bathing, animals, etc. On the other side of the home there was a separate well for drinking water.

Eric and I had to sneak around to the side of the house to see if we could find the broken railing on the balcony. We found it! :)



 A few sad, but many happy memories for the Lincoln's in this home. I can't wait to take our whole family back someday, but Eric and I were both glad that we decided the girls should sit this trip out after we were informed that alarms would go off if anyone touched anything or stepped off of a certain carpet, haha. Gracie and Evelyn would have been everywhere!

We actually spent most of our day at the Lincoln museum, but you can't take any pictures there.


If you haven't been, go! :)

Next was a stroll to the old state capitol building where Mr. Lincoln spent a lot of his time working before becoming president. A top hat marks where he sat. 




We were actually able to park our car once and walk to each of these places, which was really nice! Most of Springfield was contained in about four city blocks in Lincoln's time, so everything was very close for us.

We couldn't leave, though, without a trip to visit Lincoln's tomb, the final resting place where he, Mary, and three of their four sons are laid. 



We went inside where a tour guide was sharing a story about the night that criminals tried to steal Lincoln's body. From that day on his tomb was guarded until his body was re-buried 10 feet under in concrete to make sure it never happened again. Crazy!

I love Abraham Lincoln for the principle's he stood for as president. The civil war was a bloody war, and he wasn't always beloved for it, as most war-time presidents are not. But he was a firm leader who made real, good changes in this country. In addition to that, he was a man of sound faith, whose adult life was led by a relationship with God. But this wasn't always the case. Abraham Lincoln was a well read and learned man, and even in today's society many intelligent individuals have a hard time with faith. There is an "I have to see it believe it" sort of mentality that many people seem to struggle with.

It wasn't until Lincoln lost the first of his sons that his wife began attending a church and Lincoln really started to take a look at scriptures closely for himself. After speaking with other very intelligent and learned men who also had a faith in God, Lincoln realized that faith and intelligence are not in conflict. :) From that point on, all of his decisions were God-led and entered into prayerfully. Walking around Lincoln's tomb was a little sad, but it made me smile at the same time. He's fine and free from the life of tragedies he experienced in 56 years on this earth. I can't wait to meet him someday.

So that was our trip! It was so much fun, I wish we could do it all over again. Eric and I had been looking forward to it for weeks, planning out everything we would see and do. We both really love Abraham Lincoln and consider him the very top of our "top 5" presidents, haha. And...if we are ever blessed with another son...betcha can't guess what his name is gonna be. ;)

Have a great day, friends!

4 comments:

Cassie said...

danielle is in training to be a "tour guide/greeter" on the weekends for the lincoln exhibits. so fun! she now actually is the HR manager for the city of springfield. next time you head up, let me know. maybe she can give you guys some behind the scenes tours!

Adrien said...

Are you serious?? That is really awesome! I definitely will let you know. ;)

Heather said...

I love that you guys share an interest in this kind of thing. So perfect for each other!

Adrien said...

Aw, thanks, Heather! Haha, we always say that we're glad we found each other, because we have so many random interests that happen to be the same. :D

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