150th Anniversary of Lincoln's Inaugural Journey


On February 11-23, 1861 Abraham Lincoln made his inaugural journey from Springfield, IL to Washington, DC. He stopped and made remarks at sixteen cities and towns.Those cities include Springfield, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Cleveland, Ohio; Westfield, New York; Buffalo, New York; Albany, New York; Peekskill, New York; New York, New York; Trenton, New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Maryland; and, Washington, DC. Details of Lincoln's 1861 Inaugural Journey can be found in the links below.

In 2011, the National Park Service sponsored programming that commemorated the 150 anniversary of President-elect Abraham Lincoln's trip from Springfield, Illinois to Washington, DC. The NPS developed presentations revisiting each of the sixteen towns and cities at which Abraham Lincoln stopped.

The 2011 program featured acclaimed Lincoln actor Fritz Klein, who presented what Lincoln said in each community as he tried to reassure a nation on the verge of Civil War. The program also included National Park Service Park Rangers supplementing Lincoln's remarks with the story of Lincoln's election, the turbulence that followed, and Lincoln's steadfast commitment to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, despite threats to the nation and himself. The programs touched on how events of 150 years ago resonated through later generations up to and including today.

The National Park Service is presented these series of events in cooperation with many local cosponsors in each community. Venues varied by community, ranging from the places where Lincoln had actually spoken 150 years prior, to a variety of National Parks, local museums, and schools.

In addition, the National Park Service sponsored an educational initiative related to the Lincoln's Inaugural Journey titled "National Park Service Memory Trail: Civil War to Civil Rights" in which students can research their local community with an eye towards how their community related to the Civil War, the subsequent Civil Rights struggles, and their vision for their community in the next generation.

Each community, in partnership with their local National Park sites and other partners, developed the local arrangements for the Lincoln Inaugural Route presentations as well as any additional programming that they wished to include. In the hope that many young people would be touched by this program, an additional educational component, titled Your National Park Service Memory Trail "Civil War to Civil Rights: A National Digital History Project for High School Students" was also offered.

Program presenters included:

Abraham Lincoln as portrayed by Richard F. (Fritz) Klein

National Park Service Staff:
Timothy S. Good, Superintendent,
Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site

Dave Schafer, Chief of Interpretation and Education,
Brown v Board of Education National Historic Site

Spirit Trickey, Park Ranger,
Central High School National Historic Site


Last updated: September 2, 2021

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

413 S. 8th Street
Springfield, IL 62701


217 492-4241

Contact Us