Travel Springfield, Illinois
Land of Lincoln
Honest Abe may not have been born in Illinois (He was born in Kentucky.), but his adoptive home has the most love for the sixteenth president of the United States. The footsteps of this freedom-fighting president still echo through the streets of Springfield. A museum and his presidential library mirror each other on opposite corners of 6th Street. His last home before his presidency still stands on 7th Street.
When Abe left Springfield for the White House, he said, “I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington." After four years in the White House, he was assassinated, and a three-week-long train ride delivered his body back to Springfield. His tomb, a massive pillar of marble surrounded by statues of Civil War soldiers, shelters the bodies of Abe, his wife Mary Todd, and three of his four children.
- Dana Thomas House 301 E. Lawrence - In 1902, Susan Lawrence Dana decided to hire an up and coming architect from Chicago named Frank Lloyd Wright to remodel her family's home. The result is a showplace for the community filled with quintessential Wright elements such as straight lines and stained glass.
- Illinois State Capital 301 S 2nd Street - Surrounded by memorials to firefighters and police officers, the Illinois State Capital building stands proudly, its silver dome pronounced against the sky. A patriotic mosaic colors the inner dome, watching over the politicians at work.
- Old State Capital 1 Old Capitol Plaza - The rust-tinged columns resemble the power of the Roman empire. This building has seen much happiness and sorrow. In February 2007, the world watched as a little-known senator Barack Obama announced a run for the presidency from these steps. In May of 1865, an estimated crowd of 75,000 filed through the lobby, paying their final respects to the body of the slain Abraham Lincoln.
- Illinois State Museum 502 S. Spring Street - This museum features how the Prairie State has evolved from the ice age through the Native Americans and on to modern times.
- Henson Robinson Zoo 1100 E Lake Drive - This zoo gives visitors a taste of animals from around the world. Over 90 species of animals greet customers, and a petting zoo area is sure to bring smiles to any child's face.
- Washington Park Botanical Conservatory 1740 W. Fayette Avenue - The grounds of the conservatory are beautifully maintained, and filled with a variety of native and tropical plants.
- Adams Wildlife Sanctuary 2315 Clear Lake Avenue - The forty acres of woods and prairie are also home to the Illinois Audubon Society Headquarters.
- Illinois State Fair 801 E. Sangamon Avenue- Usually held in August, the Illinois State Fair goes beyond the average fair with exhibits that include a sculpture of a cow done exclusively in butter.
Where to Eat
Chesapeake Seafood House 3045 E Clear Lake Ave - The Chesapeake is a semi-casual dining experience with a warm interior and seafood at a great price.
Maldaner's 222 S. 6th St - Maldaner's is Springfield's oldest restaurant; located in downtown Springfield near the capital, the menu includes upscale versions of American classics like a Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich and Horseshoe (Texas toast topped with fries and various toppings including rarebit cheese sauce).
Cozy Dog Drive In 2935 So. Sixth Street - Cozy Dog Drive In is a classic Route 66 eatery with corn dogs or Cozy Dogs as they are known here.
© 2012 Liz Woodward