Lincoln Home Chronology
May - Construction of the cottage for the Reverend Charles Dresser began. December - Construction of the Dresser cottage was completed. The house was 11/2 stories tall and had 5 rooms.
May 1 - The Lincoln family (Abraham, Mary, and Robert) moved into the home on the corner of Eighth and Jackson Streets. The home was purchased for $1500.
The first remodeling of the home occurred. The Lincoln's added a bedroom and a pantry to the back of the home. The kitchen was removed from the back of the house and shifted over several feet to its present location.
The second remodeling of the home occurred during the years of 1849 and 1850. At this time, stoves were installed in the parlor rooms, the brick retaining wall in front of the home was constructed, and the front walk was bricked over, replacing the wooden sidewalk.
The Lincoln Home was remodeled once again. It appears that the barn was added at this time.
The most noticeable remodeling of the home occurred. It was at this time that the front of the home was raised from 11/2 stories to a 2 full stories. The bedroom was moved to the upstairs portion of the home, allowing for the creation of the rear parlor. The wood folding doors were added to the parlor at this time and the front parlor windows were permanently closed.
The fifth remodeling of the Lincoln Home occurred. The rest of the home was raised to 2 full stories. The iron railing was added to the second floor porch and a wall was put in place to separate the kitchen and dining room.
The final alterations of the home took place in the latter part of 1859 and the beginning of 1860. The backyard washing house was torn down and the woodshed was added to the existing Lincoln barn.
February 11 - Lucian Tilton, a railroad executive, and his wife became the first tenants of the Lincoln Home when the Lincoln family moved to Washington, D.C.
May - Illinois Secretary of State George Harlow became the second tenant of the home.
June - The third tenant of the home was Jacob D. Akard. He moved into the house. Akard turned the Lincoln Home into a boarding house for a short time.
July - Dr. Gustov Adolph Hermann Wendlandt then rented the home.
Osborn Oldroyd, a Lincoln admirer and collector, became the fifth and final tenant of the Lincoln Home in the Spring of 1883. Oldroyd remodeled the inside and outside of the house, eventually opening a Lincoln/Civil War museum on April 14, 1884. Oldroyd charged admission to see the home and sold actual pieces of the house and other site features to turn a profit. Oldroyd eventually stopped paying rent to Robert Lincoln, who referred to Oldroyd as a "dead beat."
June 16 - The Lincoln Home was deeded to the State of Illinois by Robert Lincoln. When he signed the home over, he named two provisions: "that said homestead shall be, forever, kept in good repair and free of access to the public." Osborn Oldroyd was named the first caretaker of the Lincoln Home and lived on the second floor of the house.
August/September - An archaeological excavation took place in the rear portion of the back yard.
February 12 - The first major restoration of the Lincoln Home was completed. At this time, the second floor of the home was opened to the public.
August 18 - President Richard Nixon came to Springfield to authorize the establishment of Lincoln Home National Historic Site.
October 9 - The Lincoln Home officially became a National Historic Site.
June 16 - The Lincoln Home was reopened to the public, following the second major restoration.
Did You Know?
In 1860, eleven-year-old Grace Bedell wrote to Lincoln suggesting he grow a beard to “look a great deal better.” Lincoln met Bedell on his way to Washington, giving her a hearty kiss to thank her for her idea. Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Illinois