Old State Capitol Plaza,
near 6th & Adams Sts, Springfield
Hours are seasonal. Please contact the site at 217/785-7960 for
Site Holiday Closings: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King
Day, Presidents Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and
Old State Capitol is a reconstruction of Illinois’ fifth statehouse,
the first to be located in Springfield. The building served as the
seat of state government and a center of Illinois political life
from 1839 to 1876. During the dramatic years leading to the Civil
War, the building had an important role in the political struggle
between Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861) and Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865).
Lincoln visited the building frequently as both a lawyer and a politician,
serving in the building during his last term in the Illinois House
of Representatives and delivering the famous 1858 “House Divided”
speech in Representatives Hall, and using the governor’s rooms
as a headquarters during the 1860 presidential campaign. The building
was the scene of the assassinated President’s final laying-in-state
on May 3-4, 1865.
The Greek Revival-style building was completely reconstructed in
the 1960s. The first floor is composed of a central hall flanked
by rooms interpreting government offices, two libraries, and the
supreme courtroom. A
complex of first-floor rooms also provides an audiovisual theatre
and staff offices. Recreated second floor spaces include a magnificent
rotunda, legislative chambers, and smaller offices and meeting rooms.
The building is located in the center of a large landscaped yard
surrounded by a replica of the original 1850s ornamental iron fence.
In 1961 the building was designated a National Historic Landmark
and in 1966 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
to the Old State Capitol may take a 30-minute interpreter-conducted
tour or view the rooms on their own. Also available are a 15-minute
orientation video on the building’s history. The building
is fully accessible to persons with disabilities.
The Old State Capitol hosts or co-hosts a number of special events,
including the “Abraham Lincoln Symposium” (February
12), “Holocaust Remembrance Day” in April, the Annual
Civil War Encampment in June, and the "Old Capitol Art Fair."
Many programs are supported by the Old State Capitol Foundation.
Contact the site for details.