Guide to Springfield, Illinois: how to get there and where to stay, what to see and where to go in the evening. The best of Springfield, IL: fresh reviews and photos, places to see, signature entertainment and shopping.
According to toppharmacyschools, it is Springfield that is the capital of Illinois, and not Chicago, as it seems to many intuitively. Springfield is best known as the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, and no tourist visit is complete without a tour of the “Lincoln Sites” of the city. True, in the tourist sense, the city seems to have nothing to bet on anymore – unless, of course, you are crazy about horseshoe sandwiches.
The height of the Capitol is 110 m, and it is the highest Capitol in the country, built in a non-skyscraper style (it overtakes even the Washington one, and above it only the Capitols in Florida, Louisiana and Nebraska – but their architecture is modern, non-classical).
How to get to Springfield (Illinois)
Lincoln Airport is located northwest of the city and receives scheduled flights from, for example, Chicago. Amtrak trains run to Springfield on the Chicago-St. Louis line (about 5 trains per day). The Greyhound bus can also take you to Springfield from a number of cities.
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A bit of history
The city’s original name was Calhoun, after a senator from South Carolina. The first hut was built here in 1820 by John Kelly. Calhoun has become a popular destination due to its rich soil and good trading opportunities. By 1832, the senator had fallen out of favor with the residents, and the city was renamed after Springfield, Massachusetts. At that time, the Massachusetts namesake was something like a modern Silicon Valley – a dynamically developing, advanced and technological city; and besides, he “made himself,” and the people of Illinois wanted the same. Springfield became the third state capital in 1839, not least thanks to A. Lincoln and his companions.
Lincoln and his companions were called the “Long Nine”. Their combined height was about 16 m.
Entertainment and attractions in Springfield
The Presidential Library and Museum is located on Sixth Street, and the museum is really worth a visit: it contains extremely rare artifacts related to the life of the legendary character. Another similar site is the Lincoln House Museum, a National Historic Landmark built in 1860. Abraham Lincoln lived here for 17 years. You can only see the building from the inside with a group tour. The exhibition also includes several other houses. On the corner of Adams and Sixth Streets is the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office, the only one still standing where Lincoln worked. It has been restored, and a small exhibition has been opened in its front room. The Lincoln Depot is a few blocks from his home museum. This is a restored railroad depot where Lincoln’s inaugural journey to Washington began.
2 things to do in Springfield, Illinois:
- Rubbing the nose of a bronze Lincoln in front of the memorial for good luck. You will not be the first: the nose has been shining with a polished sheen for a long time.
- Stop by the first auto-window fast food restaurant in the US, Maid-Rite. Today, the chain has been almost bankrupted by more popular food service monsters, but the first diner on Route 66 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and you can still get sausage here.
The Old State Capitol served as the seat of government from 1839 to 1876. It was here that Mr. Lincoln gave his famous “house divided against itself” speech. In May 1865, about 75 thousand people came here to say goodbye to the body of Lincoln. Lincoln’s grave is located at Oak Ridge Cemetery, the second most visited cemetery in the United States after Arlington. The grave is distinguished by a large monument, inside of which you can look.
The new Capitol is the sixth in the city since Illinois became part of the United States in 1818. Its architectural style can be defined as “French Renaissance”. The plot for the Capitol began to be prepared in 1869, but the building was completed only 20 years later. The dome of the Capitol is covered with zinc to protect the silver facade from the weather. The interior features painted friezes with scenes from the state’s history and stained-glass windows. The height of the Capitol is 110 m, and it is the highest Capitol in the country, built in a non-skyscraper style (it overtakes even the Washington one, and above it only the Capitols in Florida, Louisiana and Nebraska – but their architecture is modern, non-classical).
Oak Ridge Cemetery also houses memorials to those who died in three wars. The first, in the form of a large globe, is dedicated to World War II, a bronze bell is erected in honor of the victims of the Korean War, and a discreet monument to Vietnamese veterans was created according to the design of a 20-year-old local resident: the project was chosen by the veterans themselves.
The Dana-Thomas House on Lawrence Avenue is a prairie-style building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The building was a radical departure from the Victorian style of the day, with its 250 designer windows, doors and panels. It has been completely restored and a museum has been opened inside. The building is decorated with hundreds of pieces of colored glass, and inside you can see the original furniture, also created by Wright. The house was intended to be the salon of a socialite and still continues to amaze the imagination of visitors.
The governor’s mansion, built in the Italian style of red stone, has served as the residence of the rulers of the state since 1855. At one time, it hosted as many as seven presidents, including Lincoln, within its walls. Today it is open to the public, and guests can see the dining room, bedrooms, including the Lincoln library.
The Lincoln Memorial Garden is a 100-acre landscaped, open-plan, wooded garden along the shores of Lake Springfield. The locals are very fond of it for hundreds of meters of walking paths among the flowers. On the territory of the garden you can also see Ostermeier Prairie, a restored century-old farm.
Springfield Cuisine, Illinois
One of the legendary foods that has become part of Springfield’s cultural heritage is the horseshoe sandwich. The first such sandwich was invented in the early 20th century at the Leland Hotel. In any restaurant in the city (and in some establishments in Illinois), you can order such a sandwich – but not in other states of the country. At its core, a horseshoe is two hamburgers, each on a piece of toast with french fries and cheese sauce on top. Variations may include ham, chicken, or even vegetarian options. Ponyshoe is a half serving and is usually enough for most people.
Another local invention is the corn dog on a stick. This is a hot dog sausage in a thick layer of cornmeal batter, fried until crispy. It is served on a wooden stick like a popsicle. A patent for the corn dog was obtained in 1927.
Neighborhood of Springfield
A little more than 30 km from the city, in St. Petersburg, there is a state park named after. Abraham Lincoln New Salem. Here you can see more than 20 replicas of wooden huts, restored in the very places where they were built, and where Lincoln lived for six years in his youth. Park workers in costumes of that time greet guests and tell stories, and in the evenings during the summer season there are theater performances (not always about Lincoln).