During our stay on November 9, 2017 in St. Louis Missouri, we decided to rent a car and make the hour and forty minute drive to Springfield, Illinois to pay our respects to our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.
We awoke that morning with great expectation as to what we would find when we arrived in Springfield. After dealing with the rental car service, and getting our vehicle for the trip, we finally headed out on Route 55, North from St. Louis down the long highway. It seemed like most of the trip was through farmland, as there were not too much to see along the way. We definitely knew when we left the city, and we found ourselves, basically in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, we brought our own, trusty GPS system with us, and just followed the blue line right on into Springfield.
Our first destination was that of the tomb. We planned on stopping at other locations while in town, but the tomb was the major destination. It took some weaving through town, but we finally turned down Monument Ave., and at the end of the street we saw the gate to Oak Ridge Cemetery. We knew we were in the right location.
Once inside the cemetery, I was looking up and was watching the giant obelisk that marks the grave site, but wasn’t paying attention and at first took a wrong turn and we ended up down the hill from the tomb; however, this was a good mistake (as most turn out to be), since we found ourselves right in front of the original receiving vault. We parked the car and walked around taking video and pictures.
We actually produced our first "Our Haunted Travels" episode about this location, right from our hotel room in St. Louis. We really had no idea how this was going to pan out, and even just had the video camera propped up on the ironing board in the room to record this. We did keep it on our channel, because it does have some great documentation about the location and our visit.
We then loaded back up and headed back up the hill where we found the parking lot for the tomb (down the correct turn), and we parked the car. The first building you see from the parking lot is the guard house where the caretakers and guards of the tomb lived for almost 75 years.
We then walked back to the tomb, and the monument is breath taking. A fitting tribute to a great President (see details about the tomb in the PANICd.com database, location #1973).
The outside of the top of the tomb stands a large obelisk. At the bottom of the obelisk, you find a statue of a victorious Lincoln, surrounded by 4 large statues depicting the four branches of the military during the Civil War. There are large staircases leading to an upper level, but there are currently closed off. In the front of the tomb, you will find a bust of Lincoln designed by Gutzon Borglum (designer/sculpture of Mt. Rushmore). There is a replica of this statue also in Washington, D.C.
When you enter the tomb, you will find another statue of Lincoln that resembles the one in the Lincoln Monument in the middle of a rotunda area.
This area, we later found out, was originally called the Memorial Hall. This is the same area where they used to house Lincoln memorabilia and also this is where they brought the president’s casket on several occasions and opened it to make sure he was still inside it.
As you head down the long hallway towards the burial chamber, a solemn feeling comes over you. The entire tomb is encased within marble walls, with a light smell of mildew and fresh flowers. You have to walk down a long hallway to reach the back of the tomb, and enter the burial chamber.
Once you enter the burial chamber, there is utter silence. You can hear the sounds of people entering and exiting on the other side of the tomb, and footsteps walking down the halls; however, I cannot imagine any words being spoken in the burial chamber. In here you will see a marking showing the (supposed) burial location of the fallen president. Surrounding the marker are flags representing all of the states that were present during his time and the presidential flag. There was a wreath of fresh flowers placed behind the maker.
Across from the President you will find the vaults of his wife Mary Todd, and two of his sons (William and Thomas), and his grandson (Robert’s Son), Eddie. There is a vault for Robert, but he is not buried here, he is buried at Arlington Cemetery.
As you leave the burial chamber, you have to make your way down another long hallway back to the rotunda. In the corners of these hallways (entering and existing) there are miniature replicas of Lincoln that depict various statues that are around the country.
After leaving the tomb, we walked around the back and noticed the former door that went into the tomb that is now modified to be a window with a iron gate. This used to be the way you viewed the original sarcophagus of the president, but it now blocked off due to the attempt to steal his body in the late 1800s. The following is the picture of that door (now window) where the thieves broke into the tomb.
We also noticed the plague that depicts the location of a temporary vault that was built to house the President’s body while they finished the tomb. This vault does not exist anymore, but we believe that the following marker may have been the location.
Once we left the tomb and was heading back to Springfield to our next stop for the day, I asked Marianne what you thought about the piece of sarcophagus they had on display. She told me she didn’t see it, so we went back to the tomb so she could check that out.
Through some research, we found out that the original sarcophagus of Abraham Lincoln, no longer exists. It was broken by accident during the tomb renovations in the 1930’s. All that is left are little pieces, one of which they have on display in the rotunda.
If you would like to see more photos from Abraham Lincoln's Tomb, please watch the following video.
This was another great adventure and awesome experience. We are really grateful that we have this venue to be able to document and share this with you. If you have been to this location before, please leave us a comment and let us know your opinion and experiences. If you have not been there before, we hope that we were able to provide you with enough documentation that you feel you have visited virtually.