What better time than just after a presidential election and the release of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln to refresh and remind yourself of the great political lineage in Illinois? Not only was Abraham Lincoln a proud resident of Illinois, but three other U.S. presidents also called the state home.
Lincoln loved Illinois. Illinois loved him. Nobody embodies the state quite like Abraham Lincoln, and there’s no better state than Illinois to discover his heritage. Tracing Lincoln’s past across Illinois can quickly turn into a lifetime of experiences and practically a treasure hunt of historical significance with surprises waiting around every turn from north in Chicago to down interstate 55 to Alton.
During his time in Illinois, Lincoln lived in Decatur, New Salem and Springfield. His presence can be found everywhere from the remarkable presidential library and hallowed halls of the Old State Capitol to the meticulously reconstructed log cabin and village that defined his humble upbringing.
Nowhere gets you closer to Abraham Lincoln than Springfield, Illinois. Touch a piece of history at Lincoln’s Tomb. Walk through the reconstructed village of New Salem from his youth. Visit the only home Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln ever owned, now a national historic site. Understand the complexities of his life at one of the largest presidential museums of its kind.
Branch out and traverse the state to uncover hidden history by following the “Looking for Lincoln” path. Search for the “Looking for Lincoln” logo and placards and make your own expedition into Lincoln history!
Don’t forget to stop by Alton in Southwest Illinois, a town overflowing with Lincoln history. Explore the Lincoln & Civil War Legacy Trail at ten different sites around town. See the place where Lincoln and Douglas debated, the “duel that never happened,” and stop by the Ryder Building where Lincoln served clients as an attorney.
Now, did you guess which other presidents have called Illinois home? Of course, there is President Barack Obama, but also Ronald Reagan and Ulysses S. Grant. Reagan was from the town of Dixon while Grant hailed from scenic Galena. You can find more information, including history, attractions and presidential trails on our website, enjoyillinois.com.
-The Illinois Office of Tourism