Springfield, Ill., trip: Part V — Illinois Old State Capitol

Our last day in Springfield, Ill., started out with a nice breakfast at the B&B. Then we decided to just head back into the downtown area and walk around. We planned to leave town around lunch time.

First, we went to a farmer’s market. Was nice, but nothing too special. Next, we checked out a few local shops. Then we walked around the Old State Capitol Building. We saw that the gate was open and people were exiting, so we decided to check it out. It turned out to be one of the cooler things we did (for history-loving, geeky folks like us anyway!).

A tour was in progress so we joined it. The building was used from 1839 to 1876. According to the official site (because I don’t recall everything we were told):

During the dramatic years leading to the Civil War, the building had an important role in the political struggle between Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861) and Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). Lincoln visited the building frequently as both a lawyer and a politician, serving in the building during his last term in the Illinois House of Representatives and delivering the famous 1858 “House Divided” speech in Representatives Hall, and using the governor’s rooms as a headquarters during the 1860 presidential campaign. The building was the scene of the assassinated President’s final laying-in-state on May 3-4, 1865.

Below are some pictures I took while there. First, the outside of the building:


This is the old state Supreme Court area. Lincoln argued, I think this is accurate, more than 200 cases there:


Below is a picture of an actual drum that a 14-year-old boy carried into battle during the Civil War. The drum was displayed in a tiny room on the second floor. We were told that you had to visit this room, if you were an Illinois resident, to enlist to fight in the Civil War.


Ulysses S. Grant’s first job was in this building. He was a recruiter for the military. Funny story, though. His desk was too big to get it through the door to the office he was assigned, so his “office” was under the staircase that led up to the third floor. Here’s a recreation:


When we were at the Lincoln Museum, they had a display set up to look like the room pictured below. This is the old state senate area. Lincoln’s body, after his death, traveled across the country. The last stop was here, where the casket was placed in front of this portrait of George Washington (this is the actual painting). More than 75,000 people went through this room in one day to pay their final respects to the president.


This is a picture of the actual desk used by Lincoln when he was a state senator:


Across the corner on the back side of the building is Lincoln’s old law office. He worked on the third floor:


After this, we grabbed lunch and headed home. Overall, this was a fun trip. Two nights (and three days) was plenty of time for us to see everything we wanted to see. Not sure if there’s much that would draw me back in the near future, but might be cool to take a train there with Oliver when he’s a little older. Thanks for reading along about our journey. I’ll start back with the more typical posts here soon.

1 thought on “Springfield, Ill., trip: Part V — Illinois Old State Capitol

  1. Boy is this a trip down memory lane for me. You know your shot of the Lincoln Herndon Law Office? I used to WORK there. It’s true — in high school I sat inside and sold books about crazy Mary Todd and Lincoln himself. Funny you didn’t cover the giant plaque that said Marijean Jaggers used to earn $3.25 an hour here.

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