Springfield - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Springfield


The state capital of Illinois, Springfield owes its prominence and position to its most famous citizen, beloved former American president, Abraham Lincoln. The city started out as a little pioneer settlement in 1820, called Calhoun after a South Carolina senator of that name. The senator fell out of favour and in 1832 the town was renamed Springfield, just before a young lawyer, Abraham Lincoln, decided to make the frontier town his home. No sooner had he settled in than Lincoln decided to up the town's status to state capital, a legislative effort that he seemed to accomplish without too much trouble. The civil war brought some economic benefits to the town with new industries opening, and Springfield also became an important link in the state railway system. Today the city has a thriving economy, and a good tourist trade thanks to having been Lincoln's home town. It is also well located midway between Chicago and St Louis on historic Route 66.

Information & Facts

English is the most common language but Spanish is often spoken in south-western states.

The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library opened in October 2004, with the Museum opening on 19 April 2005. They are part of a $115 million complex dedicated to the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln and form the largest presidential library complex in the nation. The Library houses the world's largest collection of Lincoln material, with more than 46,000 items. Included in this collection are nearly 1,500 documents written or signed by Lincoln, including handwritten copies of the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address. The collection also contains important family documents and artefacts, including the Lincoln's marriage license, a tablecloth from their wedding reception, the nameplate from their front door, and Mr. Lincoln's shaving mirror. The museum has been designed to be an amazing experience, using creative 'immersive' exhibits taking visitors through phases of the president's life from his boyhood cabin in Indiana to his 'homecoming' funeral in Springfield.

The pretty two-storey home of Abraham and Mary Lincoln was the only home the lawyer/president ever owned. He and his wife lived in the house between 1844 and 1861 when he was elected President. The home has been restored and stands as it was in 1860 in the midst of a four-block historic neighbourhood, which the National Park Service is restoring. The neighbourhood, like the house, will also soon appear much as Lincoln would have remembered it.

Abraham Lincoln was buried in Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery after his assassination in 1865. Today it is the second most visited cemetery in the United States, being the resting place not only of Lincoln but several other notable historic figures as well. Lincoln's tomb monument was designed by Larkin Mead and is one of the highlights of the Historic Monument Tour by guided audio cassette, obtainable from the Oak Ridge Cemetery office. A Civil War Retreat Ceremony is held at Lincoln's tomb each Tuesday evening during the summer.

The Capitol building in the Downtown Mall, Springfield, was where Abraham Lincoln tried several hundred cases in the Supreme Court, borrowed books from the state library, and read and swapped stories with other lawyers and politicians in the law library. On May 3 and 4 in 1865 Lincoln's body laid in state in the Capitol's Representatives Hall as a crowd of more than 75,000 people filed past to pay their final respects to this beloved historic figure.

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