My last day in Springfield, IL and I had conquered the “local flavor” of dining, but I had yet to have my Lincoln Experience, other than Lincoln Taxi.
My last conference session ended at 5:00pm and the sun was still up, I called up my fav taxi service and headed downtown.
Downtown Springfield is quite and clean. Consistent traffic, not busy, but not empty either. The only businesses open are restaurants and bars, iwas a bit disappointing. Some of the stores were cute mom and pop stores and some were just abandoned.
I was dropped off at the Old State Capital.
Architecturally beautiful and historically significant (Obama announced his Presidential decision on the lawn), the OSC faces a small square of Lincoln sculptures and a mini walking tour of plaques about Springfield during Lincoln’s childhood.
A few blocks away, the Illinois State Capital building, also known as the State House.
This amazing building provokes tranquility and calmness as well as a quite assertiveness of authority. Foundtains site on both sides of the building, a replica of the Liberty Bell sits to one side, two statues are prominent on the lawn. One of Lincoln and his Farewell Letter to the city before leaving for DC.
“My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of the Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”
The other, a statue of Stephen Douglas, Lincoln’s opponent in the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, (high school flash back!) stands between the Lincoln statue and the State Capitol’s front steps.
Truly the greatest thing about the capital is the freeness of it. The ability to walk on the lawn and up to the door, to sit by the fountains, and to just take pictures. It felt like America.