This tip shows some of the statues and monuments located on the grounds of the Illinois State Capitol Complex. I agree with Jesse White, Secretary of State, when he writes, "The statues and monuments....add beauty and dignity to the area....and provide a glimpse of those individuals/groups who have helped shape Illinois' rich history".
Note: much of my statistics came from a brochure by Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State.
For the Illinois centennial, Sculptor, Andrew O'Connor, was selected to make a new statue of Abraham Lincoln. It is a 10-foot, 6-inch bronze statue with a large granite base and backdrop. It is engraved with Lincoln's "Farewell to Springfield" speech.[ Photo #1]
ILLINOIS WORKERS MEMORIAL
Sculptor, Peter Fagan, was commissioned by union members to make this 3,000 pound memorial that "is dedicated to the memory of the thousands of Illinois workers killed and injured on the job." It's a bronze sculpture of 3 workers on top of a polished granite base that was dedicate in 1992.[photo #2]
Sculptor, John H. Mahoney, created this 8-foot bronze statue of Illinois' first Lieutenant Governor, and it was the 1st statue to be placed on the Capitol lawn in 1886. Menard, a French-Canadian, is shown trading with a Native American along the Mississippi River.
The fox skin and calumet pipe symbolize the peaceful commerce Menard fostered between the Native American and white communities. The statue and ten foot granite base cost about $10,000. [photo #3]
Fondest memory: ILLINOIS FIREFIGHTER MEMORIAL
Sculptor, Neil Brodin created a monument in memory of "the firefighters of Illinois who have given their lives in the line of duty and to those who heroically serve with courage, pride and honor." It shows four life-size bronze firefighters and a rescued child on a 14-foot-tall stone cairn surrounded by 2,400 red paver bricks and enclosed by a 2-foot wall. Public contributions and the sale of Firefighters Memorial license plates paid for this memorial. Each May on Memorial Day, a ceremony is held here to honor Illinois Fallen Firefighters[photo#4]
EVERETT McKINLEY DIRKSEN
Sculptor, Carl Tolpo created this 11-foot bronze statue of Republican Congressman and U.S. Senator, Everett McKinley Dirksen who served Illinois for 35 years. An elephant, donkey, and oil can flank Dirksen which symbolizes his persuasive skills to help both Repulicans and Democrats to cooperate and enact vital legislation. Seven years after his death , the monument was dedicated. It's interesting to note that the monument contains "a cluster of marigolds, which Dirksen hoped would be named the national flower." [photo #5]
These monuments and memorials represent only 5 out of 15 Outdoor Capitol Complex structures.
I'm going to combine 3 smaller sites for Abraham Lincoln into one tip.
LINCOLN FAMILY PEW
The Lincolns, like many of people in Springfield in the 1850's, maintained a "family pew" in their church. Surprisingly, they had to pay for this pew! To see this family pew, along with 7 lovely Tiffany windows, you need to visit the First Presbyterian Church at 321 South Seventh Street in Springfield. You are able to arrange Docent guided tours by calling (217 528-4311).
Free admission. (Photo #1)
LINCOLN-HERNDON LAW OFFICES
In the Old Capitol Plaza across from the Old Capitol, you are able to see where Abraham Lincoln served as a lawyer. (photographs #2 and 3) This is the only office, of the many he used, that still remains. You will be able to see the room where he practiced with Stephen T. Logan and then with William Herndon from 1843 until 1852. You may also visit the Springfield Post Office that was established here in 1841. At this post office citizens came to collect their mail and to socialize. There is also the Tinsley Gift Shop with one-of-a-king Lincoln Memorabilia.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN LEDGER
In the bank lobby of the JPMorgan Chase Bank at 6th and Washington Streets, Springfield, you are able to see the Lincoln ledger preserved in a custom-built case. The case is decorated with bas relief sculpture on 3 sides. It depicts Lincoln as his friends in central Illinois knew him...pioneer railsplitter; storekeeper and law student; and state representative.
This location was originally the Marine and Fire Insurance Company.
The ledger book is opened to the Lincoln account; his banker was Robert Irwin. After Lincoln's death, the account continued in the name of David Davis, the administrator of the Lincoln estate.
Viewing of the ledger at the bank: weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until noon. (photograph #4)
As much as I love architecture, I was really looking forward to going inside the Frank Lloyd Wright designed home called Dana-Thomas House. However, because of financial woes of the state of Illinois, our ex-governor, had selected this site to be closed down. Fortunately, our present Governor has decided to reopen it. Too late for Mickey and I, but I'm certainly happy that others will be able to tour it soon.
We walked to the home in the Old Aristocrat Hill Historic Area [See Photo #4] just so that I could view the outside of this Prairie-Style Home. In 1902, a local socialite and activist, Susan Lawrence Dana, hired Chicago architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, to remodel her family home. At this time, Wright was only 33. She told him "to spare no expense". Naturally, we took her at her word, and because of that, this home is said to be the one of the finest Prairie-Style homes that he designed"
You can tell it is a Prairie-Style Design because of its low horizontal roof, wide overhanging eaves, and rows of ribbon art glass windows.
This home still has the original furniture, art glass doors, windows, and light fixtures...all designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Mickey and I went to Wright's hometown of Oak Park, Illinois to see his home, office, homes he designed, and his museum. That is probably why I was so interested in this home here in Springfield.j
Fondest memory: Susan Dana lived here until about 1928, but she owned it until 1944. At that time, Mr. and Mrs. Charles C. Thomas purchased it. Thus, the nameDana-Thomas Home. The Thomas' used it as an executive office for their publishing firm for 37 years. In state of Illinois purchased it in 1981. The state totally restored it; the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency maintains and runs it.
When the home is open, one hour tours are given. Then you can see the "100 pieces of original Wright furniture, 250 examples of art glass dooors and windows, and more than 100 art glass light fixtures"!
The home has a Gallery and Dining Room with two-story barrel-vaulted ceilings! Would you believe that the basement has a duck pin bowling alley, and there is an indoor terra cotta fountain! You can see why I wanted to take a tour.
Favorite thing: These are the city's and village's we drove through and by.Cicero & Berwyn, Lyons, Joliet, Elwood, Wilmington, Braidwood, Godley, Braceville, Gardner, Dwight, Odell, Pontiac, Chenoa, Lexington, Towanda, Bloomington - Normal, Shirley, Funk's Grove, McLean, Atlanta, Lincoln, Broadwell, Elkhart and Williamsville
Fondest memory: SPRINGFIELD is the State Capitol. Abraham Lincoln lived and practiced law in Springfield until he became president in 1861. Point of interest: The home of poet Vachel Lindsay, The Illinois State museum, The Springfield Art Assosation museum at Edwards place, constructed in 1833.
You just can't visit Springfield without going to all the historical Lincoln places. His home is there and his law office and his tomb. When you come into Springfield stop first at the visitors center on 7th street and you can get maps and brochures of all the Lincoln sights. They are easy to find because the streets are numbered or named for presidents down town.
Fondest memory: When we saw the big bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln my wife told me it was good luck to rub his nose. His nose was shiney where many other people had done the same.
Favorite thing: Visit Abraham Lincoln's home. This is the only home that he EVER owned. He moved straight from this house to the white one on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC. After that, unfortunately, he did not make it back. Get here early in the morning if possible, especially in the spring (April-May) when school groups tour all over the place. You get a ticket in the visitor's center to tour Lincoln's actual home. No ticket, no tour. The ticket is free, but at busy times, it can be stamped with a time a few hours off. If this happens, take a walk down the street and see the Civil War memento museum, or walk down capital street and turn north (right) on 6th to visit Lincoln's Law office and the Old State Capital -this walk is about 1/2 mile there and a 1/2 mile back to Lincoln's home.
Make the twenty mile car ride north to Lincoln's New Salem State Park. It is a reconstructed village where Honest Abe actually lived from 1831 until 1837. Did you know that Abe owned a very unproductive supply store and was once the post master of this little village? It's true!
Fondest memory: It is fun to tour the village in the summer when there are often natives dressed in the costume of the time period. The visitor's center has some really interesting exhibits. Sometimes we have even had horse and buggy rides. It depends on the day and the volunteers available. (They also built a McDonald's right in the gift shop, so the food isn't bad either.) Want a preview? Click onto the website www.lincolnsnewsalem.com There is some pretty good information about New Salem here!
You must visit the Lincoln sites. There is something special about knowing that your feet are walking in the very place where our 16th President walked over 150 years ago.
Fondest memory: We love the 4th of July celebration at the Old State Capitol building (6th St.) There are people dressed in costumes from the 1800's. There is usually a petting zoo and many activities for the kids (magic shows, singers, maypole dancing, crafts. We even got our picture taken with Abe Lincoln!
Favorite thing: Here you see a Hen House and Hardee's with on the background a Motel 6 where we stayed for a night in Springfield.