Monday, May 23, 2011

Springfield, Illinois

Last week John and I moved our home to Farmington, Missouri so we could spend some time visiting with his family. However, in the ensuing days, we have made a couple of trips back to St.Louis. Last Wednesday we attended a Cardinal game and Saturday we joined our Holy Cross family for a bus trip to Springfield Illinois. John and I have visited the Lincoln sites in Springfield but have not seen the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. As we entered the museum statues of Lincoln's family, as they appeared in 1860, greeted us.
Behind them is the south portico of the White House as it looked when the Lincolns moved in. The museum has a walk-though journey covering the years of Lincoln's life which includes, besides exhibits in the White House, a replica of his boyhood home as well as his law offices in Springfield. Modern technology is very much used in this museum. I especially liked the "you are there" setting of his law office. While Lincoln is studiously reading, and very oblivious to his sons Tad and Willie, they are jumping on his desk, scattering papers and ink everywhere. The sounds of their giggling fill the room. Currently a special exhibit is at the museum featuring excerpts from Doris Kearns Goodwin's book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. That gallery does an in-depth study of Lincoln's first cabinet;  how he chose each member and his political acumen while debating the initial momentous decisions pertaining to the attack on Fort Sumpter by the Confederacy. That exhibit, more than any other one in the museum, showed the brilliance of Lincoln's mind. I could have spent much more time than I did in the museum, but our tour group had to move on for lunch. We ate at the "Incredibly Delicious" restaurant in the Aristocracy Hill area of Springfield. The French restaurant/bakery is in an old Victorian style home built in the 1840s. Below is a picture of the front of the home. The grill work and decorations on top of the pillars are quite beautiful to see, and the inside is equally spectacular with gleaming woodwork, fancy chandeliers and stained glass windows.  Equally important, our food was delicious, and purchasing one of their baked desserts is a must.
We finished out our day walking around the historic section of Springfield, where an art fair was being held. Below is a picture of the fair, with the historic old courthouse in the background. Rain was predicted for the day but it turned out to be quite sunny and pleasant.

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