In 1880 Robert Lincoln, son of Abraham and Mary Lincoln, sold this home to the city for $1 with the promise that it would be maintained and that visitors could always tour the home with no admission fee. Well, 134 years later, amazingly the home has been maintained correctly and there is still free admission.
Your first stop is the visitor center which has 2 movie theatres and I highly recommend the movie on Lincoln's pre Washington life. The gift shop is very interesting and fairly priced. Here you will get your free ticket to walk one block to the historic district which has several period homes. The tour group meets across the street from Lincoln's home and the guide prepares you for what you will see. Our guide was very informative and passionate about imparting his knowledge of the Lincoln family. You will learn much more than you ever did in school about Abe, Mary and the children. Such as Mary being quite the hostess to large parties. The home does indeed still have many pieces from the years they lived in the house. Beds, desks and the kitchen stove are just a few of the actual items from the mid 1860s. The guide made sure we stayed on the runner and didn't touch anything lest buzzers and lights would go off. Not sure if he was kidding.
Other homes are available to go through and are also interesting. The city ( and national park service ) has done a great job in keeping everything as close as possible to the time of Lincoln's Springfield days. As far as finding things to do for free this has to rank right up there as everything here is well done and worth your time. So if near Springfield do not miss this opportunity to learn more about Lincoln, his family and the history of America.
I would recommend going in the off season ( late fall or early spring ) as we were told this site can be very busy in the warm weather months. Also, Springfield has many one way streets so study a map to know exactly how to get here.
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