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Looking for Lincoln in Illinois

Historic Houses of Lincoln’s Illinois

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Erika Holst


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
136 pages, 6 x 9, 114 illustrations

Looking for Lincoln


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About the Book

The Illinois Abraham Lincoln lived in—a place of unbroken prairie, steamboats, railroads, log cabins, and rural county seats—long ago gave way to the modern world of interstate highways, commercial farmland, and cities. Yet houses and inns from Lincoln’s time survive, providing a physical connection to the past.
This richly illustrated compendium of twenty-two historic buildings in the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area includes houses, a hotel, and an art center, all of which are open to the public. Each site links today’s visitors with a place Lincoln lived, a home of a Lincoln friend or a colleague, or a spot that illuminates Lincoln’s era and legacy in central Illinois. Along with dozens of modern full-color photographs and historical photographs, entries contain explorations of historical connections to Lincoln and detailed information about exceptional features and artifacts. Complete with maps, the book is a handy guide for day trips, extended tours, or armchair adventures.
The four homes in which Lincoln or members of his extended family lived include Thomas Lincoln’s log cabin and the Vachel Lindsay house, where Mary Lincoln’s sister, Ann Todd Smith, resided in Springfield. Eight homes of Lincoln’s friends and acquaintances, including John Greene Shastid and David Davis, give the impression that Lincoln easily moved between humble halls and lavish parlors. Ten other sites, —including the homes of an abolitionist, a farmer, and Illinois governors as well as Joseph Smith’s homestead and mansion and Carl Sandburg’s birthplace, —reveal how nineteenth-century Illinoisans lived and show that Lincoln’s cultural legacy was still very much alive long after he left the state. An appendix features related sites and the Pittsfield talking house tour.
A showcase of Illinois heritage, this enlightening guide promotes a new understanding of Lincoln’s relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and political allies and inspires readers to visit these historic treasures in person.


Erika Holst, the author of Edwards Place: A Springfield Treasure and Wicked Springfield: Crime, Corruption, and Scandal during the Lincoln Era, is a curator of decorative arts and history at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, Illinois.