Springfield, Ill., trip: Part III — Lincoln’s Tomb

Thanks for following along with all my posts on our trip to Springfield, Ill. This is part three, and I may have two or three more coming up.

The first morning, Sarah and I decided to head over to Lincoln’s Tomb. We figured there would be a little display and a statue, but this was really an impressive resting place. We were both pleasantly surprised.

The granite structure, featuring several bronze statues and a tall pillar called an obelisk. It’s all much larger in person than you would imagine. The next two pictures will give you a sense of the outside.

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Inside, I was asked to remove my baseball cap as a sign of respect (not a problem), and we then headed down a dark tunnel to the back side of the tomb. There, we viewed Lincoln’s actual grave site. It was quite impressive, and you can’t help but feel moved while in that room. On the opposite wall were chambers that held the bodies of Lincoln’s wife Mary Todd, and three of their four sons, Edward, William and Thomas. The eldest son, Robert T. Lincoln, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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There are numerous small bronze statues located throughout the building. I asked a guard about the one near the entrance/exit. I was told that it was the actual artist model created for the famous Lincoln Monument found in Washington, D.C. Here’s a picture:

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Behind the building, there’s a path that heads down a hillside. At the bottom is the Oak Ridge Cemetery public receiving vault, the scene of Lincoln’s funeral. His body was held in this facility until the fancy tomb was completed some several years later.

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Hard to see in this picture, but there are chambers inside the open-air building. See here:

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Before leaving, we had to rub the nose on the bronze reproduction of Gutzon Borglum’s marble head of Lincoln (the real one is located in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.). It’s said that rubbing the nose is good luck. From the discoloration, you can tell that many people have done the same thing:

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Afterward, we walked around the cemetery for an hour, looking at graves from Civil War veterans and others. Was pretty cool. Then we headed back to the bed and breakfast to clean up. Next, it was on to more touristy activities. I’ll have more here soon.

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11 thoughts on “Springfield, Ill., trip: Part III — Lincoln’s Tomb

  1. You should check out the History Channel documentary called Stealing Lincoln’s Body. The reason why his body was moved from the original valut was due in part because of many theft attempts (and evidently his body was so well preserved, they opened his casket many times just to ensure that he was still there and could recognize him … kind of gross). The documentary was fascinating, I thought: http://www.history.com/genericContent.do?id=61902

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