Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lincoln's Home

Lincoln's home from 1850 ish to his death.

If you have even the slightest interest in President Lincoln, you absolutely have to head to Springfield, Illinois. Springfield is a good-sized city (actually, it’s the capitol of the state), and there are a lot of restaurants, hotels, etc. There are lots of beautiful neighborhoods, containing large traditional homes, sprawling lawns, and perfectly manicured gardens.

But THE neighborhood that is a must-see is the one where Abraham and Mary Lincoln lived. The Lincolns lived in this home for a little over a decade before moving to the White House when Lincoln took office in 1861. The thing that surprised me was that it wasn’t huge, nor was it grandiose. In fact, to the contrary, it was far more modest than you would expect, especially since Lincoln was a lawyer, a Illinois Representative many times, and then a U. S. Representative prior to his election to the presidency.

Here’s the thing that puzzles me. Mary Todd married Abraham, who wasn’t exactly a good-looking man, right? When she was growing up in Lexington, Kentucky, before they were married, she was considered a really attractive young lady and a real social butterfly. Plus, her father was wealthy, and the house in Lexington was large and lovely (please see the earlier entry from Lexington for photos). So, she marries this homely guy with very little money, and moves into a not-so-wonderful house for years before he becomes president. Hum…. I’ve been trying to figure out why she would do that! There was no way she could know he would become President of the United States. What do you think?

Anyway, the Lincoln’s neighborhood is a historic district containing about a dozen restored houses on streets that aren’t open to traffic. Walk from house to house, tour them, and learn their history. It’s a great way to spend an hour or two. There’s also a Visitor’s Center with gift items and a few displays.

In addition, there’s a Lincoln Museum/Library downtown if you want to see more of the Lincolns’ personal affects. We skipped it, as we were running out of time, and we wanted to get up the hill to the Lincoln Memorial at the Springfield Cemetery.

The huge memorial wasn’t built for quite a few years after Lincoln’s assassination. After it was completed in 1874, Lincoln’s body was removed from the temporary crypt that had been built on a nearby hill. His casket was placed in the room beneath the memorial, where it sat for a number of years. In fact, there was a plot to steal Lincoln’s body, though the robbers were caught before they completed their grisly deed.

Eventually, Abraham, Mary, and three of their four sons were entombed within the memorial. It’s magnificent and well worth a visit.

Meanwhile, back at the RV park, there weren’t many other people there, except for a few permanent residents (who live in their trailers). But the motorhome parked across from us had the prettiest paint job I’ve ever seen. Take a look at the photos I took and notice that the swirl patterns change color, depending on the direction from which I’m taking the shot. Purple, then green, then brilliant turquoise, then nearly tan/gold. Rick said this is one of the most expensive paints ever made, and I can see why. It seems crazy to spend that kind of money on RV paint, since RVs are constantly getting dinged by rocks and debris on roadways, scraped by trees and bushes, get filthy dirty in dusty and/or muddy campgrounds, etc., etc. And yet, that paint was mesmerizing!

Abraham Lincoln's home in Springfield, Illinois. 

Lincoln's desk in his bedroom in his home.

Info about the desk  /  bedroom.

Even the Pres. had to use the outhouse.

View of the back of Lincoln's home.

Street view of the Lincoln "village" .

Side of Lincoln's home.

Lincoln's mausoleum memorial.  Impressive !

Lincoln mausoleum.

Colleen in the doorway of Lincoln's mausoleum.

Motorhome with ridiculously expensive ChromaLusion paint.

Another view showing how the paint changes color.

Another view.

And finally, another view.

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