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Get Historic in Illinois

Ancient Indians, religious idealists and American icons have all left indelible footprints in Illinois.

For travelers, Illinois offers a cornucopia of history. There is Abraham Lincoln, of course, who made his mark in the state’s capital before becoming one of America’s most courageous and visionary leaders. But Illinois histo ry stretches far beyond Springfield to include a variety of fascinating places from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan.

After discovering Lincoln in Springfield, groups can learn more about him and other remarkable Illinois residents at the Chicago History Museum. Not far away, the Indian and Michigan Canal offers opportunities to experience the transportation heritage of the 1840s.

On the eastern side of Illinois, the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site tells stories of an ancient Indian civilization that dates back more than 1,000 years. And at Old Navoo, visitors will discover the remnants of a utopian village established by famous religious leaders of the 19th century.


Life of Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln spent much of his adult life in and around Springfield, the capital of Illinois, and the city has become something of a living shrine to his memory. Groups can learn about Lincoln in a number of ways, starting with a visit to the Abraham Lincoln Home National Historic Site.

Comprising eight restored blocks in the heart of the city, the historic area centers on the only home Lincoln ever owned. Groups can take an escorted tour of the house, which has been restored to appear much as it did when the Lincolns lived there, or wander the surrounding neighborhood for 19th-century experiences with costumed interpreters.

Visitors will find Lincoln heritage at numerous other places around Springfield, including the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln worked as a lawyer and a legislator, and the family’s tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery, a state historic site. Another Springfield attraction, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, features artifacts and multimedia presentations about Lincoln’s extraordinary life.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.