SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Visitors have been able to tour Abraham Lincoln's two-story, 12-room home in Springfield for years. Now a group dedicated to preserving the late president's legacy is hoping to show people what the dwelling was like when it was a more modest — and cramped — cottage.
The Abraham Lincoln Association is raising money to buy land near the historic site downtown Springfield and build a replica of the six-room home that Lincoln bought in 1844. The home wasn't renovated to add a second story — giving the Greek-revival-style structure its current appearance — until 1856, after the lawyer and future president had achieved economic and political success.
Lincoln scholar and Abraham Lincoln Association President Michael Burlingame said the current Lincoln Home, which is administered by the National Park Service, gives visitors an idea of what Lincoln's family environment was like during only the family's last five years at the location.
“People entering the proposed replica of the cottage will gain a fuller, deeper appreciation of what the Lincolns’ life was like for three-fourths of the time that they lived in the home, a pressure-cooker type atmosphere created by its tight quarters which doubtless exacerbated family tensions," Burlingame said.
The association has signed an option-to-buy agreement on land a short walk from the Lincoln Home. The group says it needs to raise $400,000 for the project, which includes $250,000 for construction and $70,000 to acquire the land. The project's timetable depends on how long it takes to raise the funds, Burlingame said.