We had so much fun on Sunday that we decided to stay another night in Springfield. (Sorry, St. Louis, you’ll just have to wait.) I have been geeking out over all of the Abe Lincoln stuff all over this little town. We’ve strolled around downtown following the footsteps of our 16th president, seeing where he lived, where he played games of “Fives” (like handball, but faster and harder), even the law offices where he worked as an attorney and wrote part of his first inaugural speech. There are various Lincoln statues to be found as well as a series of colorful signs (“Looking For Lincoln” on nearly every street) which point you to all things Lincoln. I think I overdosed!
On this fine Monday, we spent a few mighty hours taking in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. Talk about world class! This place is amazing. There are interactive exhibits and a room where the kids can play old games and try on various period costumes. I’m sure the ladies working that exhibit were sorry for allowing me to try on the clothing. Ha! There are two fabulous films including one called “Ghosts of the Library” where a live actor shows off a collection of artifacts as holographic ghosts of Lincoln and soldiers come to life and tell the stories behind the things you see all around the museum. Well played.
There is a walk-through exhibit depicting the log cabin where Lincoln spent his childhood. You can spend time in the emotionally charged exhibits themed after the Emancipation Proclamation, Civil War, and Gettysburg Address. Before you leave, pose with wax figures of the Lincoln family, in front of the White House, in the main lobby.
One of my favorite things is the Treasures exhibit. Here you will find White House gala and inaugural ball invitations, the white gloves from Abe’s left coat pocket the night he was shot (complete with blood stains), even one of only three stovepipe hats in existence. This one has two worn holes from his fingers, from tapping his hat to passersby. (I stood and stared for a bit, I ain’t gonna lie.) I especially enjoyed the handwritten letters, including one Abe wrote to a school boy whose classmates didn’t believe him when he said he had shook Abe Lincoln’s hand. Abe, who was President at the time, wrote a letter to confirm that yes, he had met this little boy. (Apparently the only other letter he wrote to a child during his presidency was to the little girl who asked him to grow a beard.) Oh yeah, you can also gaze at a copy of the Gettysburg Address written in his own hand. That was pretty cool.
Guess where we went for lunch? The Cozy Dog Drive In. A Route 66 roadside attraction and the birthplace of the corn dog. Minnesota State Fair, you can eat your heart out. (I’ll eat my cozy dog, thank you very much.) We met an older couple also visiting from Southern California, so we chatted with them for a bit about the awesomeness of Abe Lincoln.
Later in the afternoon, we took in a sombering visit to Lincoln’s Tomb just north of downtown. I rubbed Lincoln’s nose for good luck because that’s what local legend says you do. I expect a windfall soon or else I’m coming back for vengeance.
All in all, Springfield is a taste treat for those with a hearty appetite for Lincoln.