Day 4: Visiting Lincoln’s home

Abraham Lincoln's Home - and the only National Park in Illinois.

Abraham Lincoln’s Home – and the only National Park in Illinois.

We visited Lincoln again in Springfield; the city itself is laid out on a grid iron system, with large wide avenues going north and south, many of them one-way and narrower east-west streets, as if to act as a barrier to people going west- indeed, in the old Capitol Square area, there was a plaque commemorating the departure of the ill-fated Donner party. Perhaps if they had not been delayed by the poor directions offered by the elusive natives of Springfield they would not have had such a tragic fate.

Luckily, one – just one – of the local mapmakers was inspired to include street addresses on their charts, in fine print that required thick glasses or perfect vision to perceive. From this, we were able to program in our destination to visit Mr. Lincoln’s home.

There are currently 401 national parks in the United States, yet there is only ONE in all of Illinois – the four-block area around Mr. Lincoln’s house. The Park Ranger informs us this was a run-down area once, with bookstores and a Piggly Wiggly market between souvenir stands hawking Lincoln souvenirs to the masses who stopped by on their trek along old Route 66 to see Lincoln’s home. This is all gone now, cleaned up and restored by the national park service to the way the neighborhood looked like – although the tall shade trees were probably lacking back then.

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