Abraham Lincoln House May Be Expanded

by Jan Frazier

Springfield, Illinois (Washington Insider Magazine) – Both U.S. Representatives Rodney Davis of Taylorville and Chuy Garcia of Chicago are interested in expanding the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois.

The bill – H.R. 3818 – was introduced by Davis – a Republican – and Garcia – a Democrat. Senator Dick Durbin originally introduced a similar bill in the Senate in Springfield on May 25. This legislation would make the Lincoln Home National Historic Site bigger. The replica of the 1844 cottage which was used by Lincoln and his family would be included in the site.

In addition, the expansion would also include a nearby house – the residence of Elijah Iles – at 628 S. Seventh Street. Iles was Springfield’s “first merchant and a friend and political supporter of Lincoln.”

According to Aaron DeGroot, spokesman for Davis, both legislative chambers – House and Senate – have seen the bill. It’s essential that the bill gets enough legislative attention. If that happens, then it will head “to the president’s desk for his signature.”

Davis said in a recent news article, “The Lincoln Home is a vital location in the life of Illinois’ favorite son, Abe Lincoln, and a key part of Lincoln tourism in central Illinois. Our bipartisan legislation expands the boundaries of the historic site while also making needed road improvements to the site to make it more accessible to the public.”

Representative Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) is also a co-sponsor of the legislation.

Garcia explained to the press that “places such as the Lincoln site help us tell important stories about the history of our country and preserve the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest figures from our state.” With the expansion of the site to include the Lincoln Cottage of 1844 as well as Elijah Iles’ home – which is the oldest home in Springfield – it “will help us gain a deeper understanding of the life of President Lincoln and his family and of our own history.”

The Abraham Lincoln Association is attempting to raise $400,000 so that they can build the Lincoln Cottage in a nearby parking lot. Originally, the Lincoln Cottage was on the same site as the Lincoln Home. It was at first a six-room cottage in 1844. Lincoln added six more rooms to the cottage and added a second story in 1856. This is the current Lincoln House.

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