Touring Mr. Lincoln's House: Photos through the years

By The Old House Web

The Lincoln Home in the late 1850s


In 1850, the Lincolns suffered their first tragedy when their second son, Eddie, died just before his fourth birthday. The following year, they celebrated the birth of their third son Willie, and two years later their fourth and final child, Thomas (nicknamed Tad) was born. With a growing family, the Lincolns expanded their house by adding a full second floor by 1856.

The Lincoln Home in the late 1860s


The assassination of Abraham Lincoln caused a national outpouring of grief. His home became the focus for mourners, photographers and postcard artists.

The Lincoln Home in 1905


Visitation was increasing to the Lincoln Home by 1905 and an awning was added. The elm tree, said to have been planted by Lincoln himself, survived into the 20th century. Over time the tree weakened, and finally a fierce storm on August 17, 1906, destroyed it.

The Lincoln Home in the 1910


By February 12, 1910, when a group of visitors came to the home to commemorate Lincoln's birthday, a new elm tree was planted. A few years later it would succumb to Dutch Elm disease. By this date, the home also witnessed additional changes as Eighth Street was paved and a fire hydrant, overhead electric lines, and a flagpole were installed.

The Lincoln Home in 1920


This stereographic view of the Lincoln Home in 1920, published in the United States, England, and Australia, illustrates Lincoln's growing international reputation. It also captures another change to the house -- a small entry-way that was added to the front. (Keystone View Company)

The Lincoln Home in the 1960s


Attempts to preserve the historic area around the Lincoln Home met with mixed success. This 1968 view shows period street lighting fixtures, installed by the City of Springfield, whose effect is somewhat compromised by the overhead power lines.

The Lincoln Home in 1987


In 1972 the Lincoln Home came under the stewardship of the National Park Service. In May 1987 the Lincoln Home was closed for restoration. The project touched every aspect of the home, from its foundations to the replacement lightning rods that replicate those Abraham Lincoln had installed to calm Mary's fear of lightning.

Search Improvement Project