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History Comes Alive at Lincoln Home

Lincoln Home National Historic Site

National Park News

Lincoln Home National Historic Site has been brought to life this summer. Each day, visitors can play mid-19th century games, scrub clothes with a washboard, and listen to musical performances of Lincoln-era songs. Mr. Lincoln himself can be found walking around the neighborhood that he called home for 17 years.

These Lincoln neighborhood activities are part of Springfield's "History Comes Alive" living history program. The goal of this program is to transport visitors back in time to the Springfield that Abraham Lincoln knew and loved. In order to do this, the park collaborated with its many downtown Springfield historic site partners to create a series of living history activities that tell a complete story of Lincoln's life while he lived in Springfield. This eight-week program, which runs from June 15th to August 15, is funded by a grant from the Office of Tourism at the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

With the grant money, the park hired five living history interpreters who present daily neighborhood tours, vignettes of historical figures that Lincoln knew, and period demonstrations, such as laundering, sewing, and playing games. The park also hired two singing troupes known as the Lincoln Troubadours to perform Lincoln-era songs.

One of the highlights of the living history program is the Saturday evening "Farewell to Springfield" parade. During the program, Lincoln impersonator Fritz Klein delivers Lincoln's farewell address on the front steps of the Lincoln home. Following the address, Abraham Lincoln, park visitors, and the living history interpreters march from the Lincoln home to Illinois' Old State Capitol, where Lincoln delivers his first inaugural address.

"It's easy to be transported back in time with all of the activities going on in the neighborhood," says Tiffany Bowles, the park's living history coordinator. "Visitors are going home with some great memories of their time here at Lincoln Home."

Lincoln's home, the park's centerpiece, has been restored to its 1860s appearance, revealing Lincoln as a husband, father, politician, and President-elect. It stands in the midst of a four block historic neighborhood which the National Park Service is restoring so that the neighborhood, like the house, will appear much as Lincoln would have remembered it.

For more information about the living history program or Lincoln Home National Historic Site, please call 217-391-3226 or visit the park's website at


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