• Inside the Lincoln Sitting Room

    Lincoln Home

    National Historic Site Illinois

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  • Lincoln Home Tours During Busy Season

    Please be advised that tours of the Lincoln home fill rapidly during our busy summer season. We suggest that you visit the Lincoln Home National Historic Visitor Center early in the day for your best opportunity to receive a tour of the Lincoln home.

Natural Features & Ecosystems

Nature and Science

Ancient Oak with a new friend -

Chris Young SJR

In pre-settlement times this area was blanketed with wildflowers and grasses of the Midwestern tallgrass prairie. The gently sloping topography of the land was ablaze with a palette of colorful flowering plants like prairie dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum), common sunflower (Helianthus annus), and prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya). Native grasses like Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans), and big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), grew unrestrained up to 10 feet tall in the relatively flat landscape. Native birds and butterflies were in abundance. Prairie plants formed deep roots in the rich soils of this region.

When settlers began to develop central Illinois into an agricultural community, they changed the face of the tallgrass prairie. They plowed the prairie soils into farmland and planted crops. They grazed livestock and built homes and small towns. The town of Springfield was developed on prairie land. As Springfield grew in size from a small town to a state capital, Mr. Lincoln’s home and neighborhood were built.

Today, the tallgrass prairie is not an evident part of Lincoln Home. The site reflects the area during Mr. Lincoln’s residency, from 1844 – 1861. There are some wildflowers growing in the neighborhood that would have existed on the prairie, such as, coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata), bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa), and wild strawberry (Fragraria virginianus), but overall, the prairie is not a feature of Lincoln Home National Historic Site.

Did You Know?

Photo of President Lincoln with beard

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