In 1837, Abraham Lincoln moved from New Salem to Springfield in order to reach a larger clientele for his young legal career. It was here that he met the woman that would become his wife, Mar Todd, at a chance encounter at her sister’s home. The two were married in 1842, and in 1844 bought their Springfield home that would end up being the only home they ever owned.
Now the site of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Lincoln lived in the Springfield home from 1844 to 1861 before taking residence in the White House after becoming the 16th President of the United States. During the time Lincoln lived at this home, he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1846, and then elected President in 1860.
The house is located at the corner of Eighth Street and Jackson Street and contains twelve rooms over two floors. It was here that the Lincoln’s children were born, and it was here that one of them, Eddie, passed away just before his fourth birthday of tuberculosis.
The home was donated to the State of Illinois in 1887 by Lincoln’s son Robert Todd Lincoln under the condition that it would be well maintained and open to the public at no charge in perpetuity. The reason this was done is that there had been for some time tenants in the home and it was discovered that they were charging a small fee to people interested in visiting the home. The tenants also left the home in serious disrepair when they left and Robert Todd felt that this in combination with the tomb of Lincoln would become a site that American’s would want to visit and should be maintained.
The Lincoln’s home and tomb were designated National Historic Landmarks on December 19, 1960, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. The home and surrounding sites make up one of only two National Park Service properties in the state. The presidential memorial includes the four blocks surrounding the home and a visitor center.
Abraham Lincoln’s Home Facts
- Electricity was first used to light the home in 1899.
- A caretaker lived at the Lincoln Home until December 1, 1953.
- The Lincoln Home almost burned down twice. Once due to a lighting strike.
- Gas lighting was installed in the home by the second tenant, George Harlow.
- A telephone was installed in the Lincoln Home between 1878 and 1879.
- Richard Nixon signed legislation for the establishment of the Lincoln Home as a National Historic Site, using the same desk Lincoln used to write his first inaugural address.
- The Lincoln Home is maintained by the National Park Service and is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Admission is free, but tickets are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.