During this bicentennial year of 16th President Abraham Lincoln’s birth, 10 Illinois state historic sites, many with Lincoln connections, will open seven days a week this month for the summer tourist season.
This follows the reversal of disgraced ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich’s closing of what he said were the least-visited state parks and state historic sites through the remainder of the fiscal year. Blagojevich cited budgetary shortages for the closings.
Governor Pat Quinn recently ordered those state parks and historic sites to be reopened. A few had been reopened separate from government action, as in the case of the Vandalia Statehouse where Lincoln served as a state lawmaker, thanks to local efforts.
Generally, the sites reopened with their budget-saving five-day-a-week schedule, closing Mondays and Tuedays which are regarded as the slowest tourist days of the week.
Sites Staying Open
According to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, the state historic sites that will now open this summer seven days a week include:
the Bjorklund Hotel, Colony Church, and Bishop Hill Museum in Bishop Hill, a town founded as a colony by Swedish religious dissenters, May 25th until September 7th
Cahokia Mounds, site of the largest prehistoric city in North America and of the astronomical site Woodhenge, in Collinsville, open now through October 31, closing Mondays only after November 1st
Fort Kaskaskia in Ellis Grove, located on a bluff overlooking the island …accessible only from the Missouri side…where the first state capital is located, until further notice
the Lewis and Clark site in Hartford, where Captains Meriwhether Lewis and William Clarke’s expedition West was launched from their winter quarters at Camp DuBois where they recruited and trained, until further notice
the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices in Springfield, the only remaining location where Lincoln maintained law offices, May 15 through September 7
the Lincoln Log Cabin in Lerna, home of Lincoln’s parents after he moved to Springfield and which he occasionally visited, through September 7
Lincoln’s New Salem in Petersburg, a magniificent recreation of the village where Lincoln was a storekeeper, through September 14
Lincoln’s Tomb in Springfield, where the former president is entombed and the site of a bizarre plot by counterfeiters to snatch the late president’s body, May 14 through September 7
the Old State Capitol in Springfield, May 15 through September 7;
and the Vandalia Statehouse in Vandalia, through September 7.
Except where noted, the sites will revert to their five-day-a-week Wednesday through Sunday schedule through the remainder of the year after the summer schedule expires.
A supplemental appropriation bill passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Pat Quinn makes the reopening possible which not only paid for the expanded summer schedule but had been responsible for reopening the closed parks and historic sites.
The Illinois State Historic Preservation Agency operates more than 60 state historic sites and memorials as well as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library located in downtown Springfield.
Historic Sites Across the State Have Re-Opened!, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency http://www.illinoishistory.gov/hs/sites.htm
Several States Historic Sites to Open Seven Days a Week for Summer, WandTV http://www.wandtv.com/global/story.asp?s=10291507