Davis, Garcia Introduce Bill to Expand Lincoln Home National Historic Site Boundaries, Improve Area

On Friday, U.S. Representatives Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Chuy García (D-IL) introduced legislation to expand the boundaries of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois, and improve area infrastructure. The legislation, H.R. 3818, would expand the boundary of the Lincoln Home National Historic site to include a replica 1844 Lincoln cottage and the Elijah Iles home. The bill would also require the National Park Service to increase the height of the road in front of the Lincoln home and at the intersection of 8th and Jackson to provide greater accessibility within the existing Lincoln Home site.

H.R. 3818 is the House companion bill to legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate late last month by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL) is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3818 as well. You can find the legislative text here.

“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,” said Rep. Davis. “Our bipartisan legislation expands the boundaries of the Historic Site while also making needed road improvements at the Site to make it more accessible to the public. These changes will help us preserve a portion of the historic neighborhood near the Home, while also ensuring generations of travelers and visitors can visit the Site and see President Lincoln’s heritage first-hand.”

“Historic places such as the Lincoln Home Historical 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. Expanding the site to include a replica of the Lincoln Home and the Elijah Iles home, the oldest structure in Springfield, will help us gain a deeper understanding of the life of President Lincoln and his family and of our own history,” said Congressman García.

“In central Illinois, we are proud of the many historical places that commemorate President Abraham Lincoln, including the Lincoln Home Historical Site in Springfield, which was the only home the 16th president ever owned. Having the privilege of representing much of the same region as Abraham Lincoln did during his one term in Congress, I am pleased to join Congressman Davis to support legislation to preserve Lincoln’s legacy and grow our understanding of America’s history,” said Rep. LaHood.

The Abraham Lincoln Association is in the process of raising funds to create a replica of the Lincoln Home in Springfield, as it existed from 1844 to 1856, when the Lincoln family first moved in. In 1856, the Lincolns expanded the original six-room cottage into the twelve-room home that is now the centerpiece of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. The replica cottage will show what life was like for the Lincoln family the first 12 years in Springfield.

Built in 1837, by Elijah Iles, the house is the oldest structure in Springfield. Iles was one of the founders of the city of Springfield and a friend and supporter of Lincoln. Iles also played an important role in helping Lincoln secure the state capital's move from Vandalia to Springfield.

In 1977, the House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural and historic significance. The timber framed Greek Revival cottage was restored in 2005 and has since been open to the public. The home houses an extensive collection of pre-Civil War furniture and the Farrell and Ann Gay Museum of Springfield History.