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Lincoln Home National Historic Site


Abraham Lincoln's frame house in Springfield, Illinois, is the only residence our sixteenth President ever owned. It's now preserved for visitors at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site.
©National Park Service
This frame house in Springfield, Illinois, is the only house
Abraham Lincoln ever owned.

Lincoln moved to Springfield when he was a 28-year-old state representative. About a year-and-a-half later, he met 21-year-old Mary Todd, who came from a prominent family. Three years later, they decided to marry, but Mary's socially conscious family didn't think Lincoln measured up. The family reluctantly blessed the union, and the couple were married in 1842.

Two years later, they purchased the modest home at Eighth and Jackson streets. The couple lived on a tight budget, so Lincoln did all the chores around the house, including chopping wood, carrying water, and milking the cows. As the family grew, they renovated and expanded the home until it was a distinguished two-story house befitting a lawyer and rising politician.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site
©National Park Service
Abraham Lincoln did all the chores around the
house himself.

In 1846, Lincoln was elected to the House of Representatives, and the family moved to Washington. His unpopular stance against the Mexican War, however, cost him politically, and in 1849 Lincoln moved back to Springfield, feeling he had no future in politics. But in 1856, the issue of slavery brought Lincoln back to Washington. In the Senate race he ran against Senator Stephen Douglas as a member of the newly formed Republican Party.

Lincoln lost the election, but the eloquent speeches he gave in a series of debates with Douglas won him national acclaim. Four years later, Lincoln was elected President of the United States and presided over the Civil War.

In January 1861, the Lincolns packed up the house in Springfield. They sold some of the furniture and household goods and put the rest in trunks labeled "A. Lincoln, White House, Washington, D.C." In 1887, more than two decades after Lincoln's assassination, the house was donated to the State of Illinois.

In 1971, the National Park Service acquired the President's home as part of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, which today encompasses a four-block historic district of perhaps a dozen mid-nineteenth-century homes.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site Information

Address: 413 South Eighth Street, Springfield, IL 62701
Phone: 217/492-4241
Hours of Operation: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day; hours extended during summer
Admission: Free, but tickets must be obtained from the L­incoln Home Visitor Center at 426 South Seventh Street

Learn more about these other national historic sites:

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Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site Clara Barton National Historic Site
Fort Larned National Historic Site
Grant Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Adams National Historic Site
Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site Fort Raleigh National Historic Site Hampton National Historic Site Lincoln Home National Historic Site Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site Edison National Historic Site Fort Scott National Historic Site Harry S. Truman National Historic Site Longfellow National Historic Site Sagamore Hill National Historic Site Thomas Stone National Historic Site
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site Eisenhower National Historic Site Fort Smith National Historic Site Herbert Hoover National Historic Site Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site Thomas Stone National Historic Site
Boston African -American National Historic Site Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site Manzanar National Historic Site

Saint-
Gaudens National Historic Site

Touro Synagogue National Historic Site
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site Martin Van Buren National Historic Site Salem Maritime National Historic Site Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Ford's Theatre National Historic Site Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site Mary McLeod Bethune House National Historic Site Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site Weir Farm National Historic Site
Charles Pinckney National Historic Site Fort Bowie National Historic Site Friendship Hill National Historic Site James A. Garfield National Historic Site Mc Loughlin House National Historic Site Sewall -Belmont House National Historic Site Whitman Mission National Historic Site
Chicago Portage National Historic Site
Fort Davis National Historic Site Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site Jimmy Carter National Historic Site Ninety Six National Historic Site Springfield Armory National Historic Site William Howard Taft National Historic Site
Christian
-sted National Historic Site
Fort Laramie National Historic Site Golden Spike National Historic Site John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site Steamtown National Historic Site

Find out more about travel destinations in North America:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eric Peterson is a Denver-based freelance writer who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.

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