On Saturday, Oct. 10 this year my family and I visited the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices in Springfield, IL (see overview of the trip here). After our tour of the Abraham Lincoln Home National Historic Site, we headed to 6th and Adams Streets where the offices are located across Adams from the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln served in the legislature. It was pretty cool to realize how closely these three critical Lincoln sites are situated to one another. Adams St. from 6th to 5th is closed off into one of those urban malls that were all the rage in the 1970s. Unlike most of those, however, this one seems to work, probably due to the tourist factor.
The law offices are maintained by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, and for now, at least, it is open on Saturday. The building is three stories, and when Lincoln had offices there from 1843 to 1852 with first Stephen Logan and later William Herndon, they were located on the third floor. Exactly where is not certain, but it is believed they were on the 6th St. side, two floors above the Post Office – the left end of the building in the first image below. The building in Lincoln’s day extended further up Adams, but that part of it was demolished later, so it is possible that the actual space occupied by Lincoln’s offices is gone.
Our tour began on the first floor, where we heard some of the story of the building’s use and learned a little about the post office.
The Federal court and offices were located on the second floor. The old Capitol can be seen out the window of the courtroom in the front of the building.
Then to the third floor, which has a recreation of the Lincoln-Herndon office as described by Herndon, but set up in the front of the building. Two long tables were arranged in a “T”, and a couch representing a custom seven-footer upon which Lincoln would lounge to read the paper each morning sat in a corner. The room in the last picture is where the office was more likely located, in the rear above the Post Office.
The Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices is a must-see, despite some questions about where the actual office was located.