Springfield, IL: Part IV – Old State Capitol

6 12 2009

On Saturday, Oct. 10 this year my family and I visited the Old State Capitol  in Springfield, IL (see overview of the trip here).  After our tour of the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices, we walked across Adams Street to the state house, where Lincoln served in the state legislature.  This building served as the fifth seat of Illinois state government from 1839 to 1876 (the preceding four were not in Springfield), and is now maintained by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

Here are a few shots of a descriptive marker on the grounds, the building, and detail of the front columns (click the thumbs for larger images):


Upon entering the state house, the central hall is dominated by the staircases to the second floor, from the landing of which can be seen the interior of the dome:


The first floor of the Capitol houses the offices of the auditor, secretary of state, and treasurer, as well as the state library, law library, and supreme court.  Here are photos of each in order:


The second floor is where the senate and hall of representatives are located.  There are a few interesting items outside these large rooms, including a statue of Stephen Douglas, a banner from Lincoln’s 1860 campaign, an old-timey mouse trap (death by drowning, I think), and the Adjutant General’s office (occupied 1869-1873 by old leather breeches Hubert Dilger):


Here’s the Senate Chamber:

Lincoln delivered his House Divided” speech in the Hall of Representatives, where he had served, upon his being put forth as a candidate for the U. S. Senate in 1858.  A little under 7 years later, his body would lie in state in the same room:


The coolest thing I picked up on my trip was a free handout at the Old Capitol.  It’s Lincoln’s last paycheck from the legislature.  It contains three very interesting signatures: Lincoln’s; Auditor James Shields; and Treasurer John Whiteside.  This is cool because, as you most likely know, future Civil War general Shields once challenged Lincoln to a duel over some critical letters that appeared in the Sangamo Journal known as the Rebecca Letters, the second of which was almost certainly written by Lincoln.  As the challenged party, Lincoln chose broadswords for weapons, and put some other creative limitations on the contest such that neither man could possibly strike the other, or that the much taller Lincoln only could reach his shorter opponent.  Shields’s second in all of this was Whiteside.  You can find all the correspondence on page 291 of volume I of The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln.  Or you can go here and advance through the sections to see all the correspondence and notes.

I forgot to ask where Lincoln had his office during the presidential campaign (or was it after the election and prior to the inauguration?) – if any of you readers know, clue me in.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part V

Part VI

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11 responses

6 12 2009
6 12 2009
6 12 2009
8 12 2009
Rea Andrew Redd

Nice posts on Lincoln! I see the Unpopular Mr. Lincoln being advertised. I am about 1/2 through it. Learning lots and enjoying it quite a bit. Have you read it?


8 12 2009
Harry Smeltzer

Rea, this is why you have to read the blog every day! I mentioned in the bolg post “Back” on Dec. 2 that I have finished Tagg. It is a very important book, though I have a few minor quibbles. I’ll be reviewing it, but when I’ll get it posted here depends on whether or not I sell the review to a magazine.

And also, those aren’t book ads in my margin – that’s a “Now Reading” list. Which reminds me I have to replace the Tagg book with the book I’m reading now, “The Life and Letters of Israel B. Richardson”.


9 12 2009
Mike Peters


Great post!

Last week, a couple of RT buddies & I took a CW trip to Sprigfield, as well as St. Louis and Indianapolis.

Didn’t see the Old State Capitol but we did venture out to the Lincoln burial site & Lincoln’s home. Sounds like a good enough reason for another trip. :)

Was surprised to find the graves of Francis Brownell, Elsworth’s avenger, & Confederate General A. P. Stewart in St. Louis. The Lew Wallace museum in Crawfordsville, Indiana is well worth a visit.


Mike Peters


11 12 2009
Harry Smeltzer


I have at least two more posts to make on this trip – maybe three. Did you go to the ALPM?


14 12 2009
Mike Peters


Would have liked to, but time got in the way. As it was, we cut out Jefferson Barracks, Vincennes & Corydon. We are thinking about a second trip to cover what we missed.

Mike Peters


11 12 2009
Chris Evans

I love these posts on Lincoln’s Springfield. I really enjoy the photographs of these truly historical places where Lincoln lived and worked.


15 12 2009
Springfield, IL: Part V – The Abraham Lincoln Presidential (Library and) Museum « Bull Runnings

[…] Part IV Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and MuseumBLAZE YOUR OWN TRAIL IN SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS […]


2 01 2010

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