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No trip to Springfield, Illinois, is complete without a stop at the Lincoln Tomb at the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site.  We’ve been to Springfield twice now, and strangely, this has been the first stop both trips due to timing. It’s not a bad place to start; it’s an attraction you can experience in an hour or less and it does provide some background to get you started. My family loves history and historic sites, and we also love learning about Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. We consider the Lincoln Tomb a must-see on your Springfield trip.

Arriving at Oak Ridge Cemetery

Lincoln Tomb

The road leading up to Oak Ridge Cemetery is lovely in the summer. When you get close, you can’t miss the entrance.

Oak Ridge Cemetery Lincoln Tomb

Just follow the signing to get to the tomb.

Lincoln Tomb

Of course, you’ll be able to see it from a distance. It’s rather majestic. Created by Larkin Mead, The tomb stands 117 feet tall.

Lincoln Tomb

There is a small parking lot and restrooms on the left side of the tomb. This is handy if you’ve been out and about before your stop.

Lincoln’s Tomb: The Outside

When you’re ready to visit the tomb, you’ll be able to explore around the base and go inside. You aren’t able to up to the upper deck anymore, but we were able to go up there on our first visit several years ago. As you approach the tomb, you’ll be able to see the tomb from different vantage points.

Lincoln Tomb

Be sure to check out the Gutzon Borglum’s bronze recasting of President Lincoln’s head. Borglum is most known for the creation of Mount Rushmore.

Gutzon Borglum's Lincoln Lincoln Tomb

Visitors are encouraged to rub his nose for good luck.

Gutzon Borglum's Lincoln

Lincoln’s Tomb: The Inside

Lincoln's Tomb

Once inside, the docent will greet you and remind you to be quiet and respectful. You are then free to walk through the tomb on your own. There are several sculptures depicting Lincoln’s life on your way to the burial chamber. There is no charge.

Lincoln's Tomb

The replicas of famous statues throughout the tomb are stunning.

Lincoln's Tomb

The tomb is a place of peaceful reflection as you pass by the sculptures.

Lincoln's Tomb

We were lucky to visit at a time when few people were visiting.

Lincoln's Tomb

Eventually, you’ll get to President Lincoln’s cenotaph. He is actually buried ten feet below the floor under marble and cement. Lincoln’s burial includes a lot of lore that spans decades. We learned the most about that during our Ghost Walk later in the trip. Click here to read more.

Lincoln's Tomb

Mary Todd Lincoln and their sons Edward, William, and Thomas (Tad) are also buried in the tomb. The Lincolns’ eldest son, Robert, is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

As we left the cemetery, we also drove past the receiving vault where the bodies of President Lincoln and son William were placed for several months. They, along with Eddie, were moved into a tomb for several years while the current tomb was constructed.

Lincoln's Receiving Vault

William died of Typhoid Fever at the White House during Lincoln’s presidency in 1862. Eddie died while the family lived in Springfield before Lincoln became president. Tragically, Tad died in 1871. He was the first to be buried in the current tomb. His father and brothers joined him a few months later. Mary was the last to be buried there in 1882.

As you can see, visiting Lincoln’s Tomb is a great way to pay your respect to a great American leader and learn a little background. In addition to the tomb, be sure to visit these excellent Lincoln attractions during your visit to Springfield:

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

The Lincoln Home

Lincoln's Tomb
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Source to help me remember the details:

The Lincoln Tomb, 2018, lincolntomb.org.

18 Comments

  1. What a great historical adventure. I love all of the photos, they made me feel like I was touring Lincoln’s tomb with you!

  2. We’ve been meaning to get to Springfield for a while now (it’s a fairly short drive). Maybe this year, with my daughter taking American History, will be the year we make it!

  3. What a great thing to see during this time in history. I really did not know this existed! Thanks for sharing!

  4. What an excellent way to learn some history! It is certainly a place we will visit if ever in the area. Thanks for sharing!

  5. There looks like there’s actually quite a lot to see here. Looks like it would be a neat stop.

  6. Great post! I love the history, and your photos are great! It’s too bad you can’t go to the upper deck anymore though!

    • Stacey Reply

      That’s a good question. Since I’m a teacher, we mainly travel in the summer. On this trip, we visited in July. It wasn’t really busy. In fact, we didn’t encounter a large number of people at any attraction. When they have special events, there may be more people.

  7. I had no idea he was buried in such a huge tomb. What a special place to visit.

  8. What a neat place to visit. I didn’t realize that is where Lincoln’s tomb was, but it makes sense. I don’t know why it never crossed my mind to see where he is buried because I’ve been to all of the other significant places like the Lincoln Memorial, Ford’s Theater, and the house they took him to after he was shot.

    • Stacey Reply

      You have to go to Springfield! You will love all the Lincoln things to see.

  9. This article makes me want to pack my bags and visit Springfield, Illinois! Visiting Lincoln’s tomb would be an interesting experience.

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