While all the Land of Lincoln sites in Springfield are interesting, the Lincoln Depot is special because this is the place where he departed and left Springfield, Illinois for the last time before taking on the role of President of the United States. Lincoln boarded the inaugural train at what was then, the Great Western Railroad station on February 11, 1861.
On this date, he offered those in attendance a remarkable Farewell Address. Lincoln started out with an eloquent beginning. "My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything.”
Springfield would always have a special place in Lincoln’s heart because here he said, “…my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington.”
Knowing that the days ahead would be filled with treachery and danger he called on the Lord for assistance saying, “… Without the assistance of the Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”
The Depot is a quiet place that is often overlooked among the popular sites like Lincoln’s Home and tomb, but this old brick building has a special piece of history that no other can claim. The depot was used by Lincoln and his family, as it offered convenient passenger service. There have been some changes over time. The office is now a privately owned Law Office that is open to the public originally the depot offered separate waiting rooms on the first floor for men and women.
When visiting, be sure to take time to look at the building next to the Depot to see the murals on the adjoining wall. Come to Springfield and immerse yourself in Lincoln’s life and remember his dedication and love to the city that he called home. The Lincoln Depot is privately owned by a law firm, but the lower level is open to visitor’s weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or on weekends and holidays by calling 217/544-8441.