Disturbed Lands

Nature and Science
Changes in the Lincoln Home Neighborhood
The Lincoln Home was built in 1839, on land that was once part of the Midwestern tallgrass prairie. In the early 19th century, European settlers disturbed the native prairie by plowing under the tallgrasses to build small farms and towns. Springfield, one of those small towns, became the state capital of Illinois in 1837. As the city expanded and people settled the surrounding environs, the natural prairie wildflowers and groves of trees were replaced with agricultural fields and small businesses.

During Mr. Lincoln's residency, the town grew from a population of 2000 to over 10,000 people. In the decades following Lincoln's departure the small town on the prairie (with dirt roads and boardwalks) evolved to an urban center with asphalt streets and concrete sidewalks. Street lights, power lines, parking lots and even a gas station surrounded the Lincoln home. The natural lands of pre-settlement times were developed into an urban city. Today, this urban environment surrounds the restored nineteenth century Lincoln Home and neighborhood.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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