The Illinois Office of Tourism is predicting a boost in visitor numbers to the US state following the release today of Steven Spielberg’s multi-award nominated movie, ‘Lincoln’. And to highlight the joys of his home state, Lincoln was in London sampling some British hospitality and chatting with the locals. He posed for pictures on Facebook, visited No.10, rode the Tube and even met a British Bobby.
The UK release of the highly acclaimed movie will see Lincoln’s adopted hometown of Springfield become hugely popular with UK visitors. The movie itself is up for a number of awards including 12 Oscars, 10 Baftas and a win already in the bag for leading man Daniel Day-Lewis, for Best Film Actor at the Golden Globes in Hollywood last week - and this spike in historical fame for ‘Honest Abe’ can only be a good thing for the President’s home.
“The ‘Lincoln’ movie launch is sparking new curiosity in the Land of Lincoln – the place he called home,” said Jen Hoelzle, Deputy Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. “We expect to see a renewed interest from travellers in exploring the State Capital of Springfield and Lincoln sites throughout Illinois.
No other state in the country is home to as much of Lincoln’s spirit and history as Illinois. Abraham Lincoln remains one of America’s most beloved presidents, and from Springfield to Alton, New Salem to Chicago, Lincoln’s legacy lives in nearly every corner of the state. It’s where he was educated and where he became a man.
During his time in Illinois, Lincoln lived in Springfield, Decatur and New Salem. His story is found everywhere from the remarkable Presidential Library and Museum and hallowed halls of the Old State Capitol, to the meticulously reconstructed log cabin and village that defined his humble upbringing.
In Springfield, visitors can trace the footsteps of President Lincoln. They can visit Lincoln’s home, the only house he and Mary Todd ever owned, and the Springfield cemetery where Lincoln, his wife Mary Todd Lincoln and three of his sons are buried – the second most visited cemetery in the US.
Learn about Lincoln - Daniel Day-Lewis-style
There is a host of emotional and educational exhibits at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum - the most-visited presidential museum in the US. James Cornelius, curator of the museum’s Lincoln Collection, spent a half-day with Daniel Day-Lewis in Springfield as they discussed various details of Lincoln’s dress, mannerisms and style of speech. He also spent time reading old letters Lincoln had written.
Visitors can also explore his early years practicing law at the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office and Old State Capitol, to see where Lincoln first made his mark in the Illinois State Legislature. Day-Lewis also spent time at the Old State Capitol and Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices during a discreet one-day trip to Springfield in November 2010.
The New Salem Historic Site, just north of Springfield, is where visitors can travel back to the 1830s when Lincoln lived as a young adult while forging his political career. South of Springfield is Alton, which boasts the Lincoln & Civil War Legacy Trail at 10 different sites - including the place where Lincoln and Stephen Douglas clashed in one of their famous debates.