The Lincoln Tomb and Its Custodial History

On May 4, 1865, the body of Abraham Lincoln arrived at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. His coffin was placed in the cemetery’s receiving vault along with the coffin of his son, Willie, who had died three years earlier. In the days following, the National Lincoln Monument Association was founded by then Governor Richard J. Oglesby to construct a memorial that would honor the memory of the fallen president. Funds were raised across the country to support the cost of the memorial. Because construction would take six years, a temporary vault was built, and Lincoln’s body was placed there on December 21, 1865.… Read More

Lincoln’s Farewell Address

Train depot in Springfield

This blog post is a part of our bicentennial celebration. During the month of January, we’re taking a closer look at one of Illinois’s iconic residents: Abraham Lincoln.


On a rainy February morning in 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln gave his last speech in Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln arrived at the Great Western Railroad Depot in the early morning for his departure to Washington D.C. There he shook hands with those waiting inside. Shortly before 8:00 AM, he walked through a crowd out to his train car and addressed them for the last time. His speech was impromptu and rather short, but thoroughly expressed his sadness at having to leave the people of Springfield.… Read More