Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, was shot by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865, and died the following day. At his wife’s request, his body was returned to Springfield, Illinois, for burial.
The famous terrace and obelisk which houses the vault where Lincoln, his wife, and three of his four sons are buried wasn’t the first place where he was laid to rest. Initially, he was placed in a receiving vault to the north of the present-day monument, along with the body of his son Willie. From December 1865 through September 1871, Lincoln and his sons Willie and Eddie rested in a temporary tomb near the site of the current one.
In 1871, after the death of Lincoln’s youngest son, Tad, the bodies of all three of the boys and of the president are moved into the partially completed tomb. Throughout the years, the bodies were moved to different places in the mausoleum to protect it from thieves. It isn’t until 1901, after the tomb is reconstructed, that the president reaches his final resting place.
The granite monument has a rectangular base and four sets of stairs leading to a terrace. The obelisk rises 117 feet into the air. Around the obelisk’s base are four statues about the military during the Civil War – one for the infantry, one for the cavalry, one for the artillery, and one for the navy. There is also a bronze reproduction of Lincoln’s bust from the U.S. Capitol. It’s said if you rub the nose, you’ll have good luck.
Lincoln himself is buried ten feet underneath a seven ton block of red marble inscribe with his name and his dates. On the wall facing the tomb are the crypts of Mary, Eddie, Tad, and Willie. While a somber place to visit, it’s also educational and informative. On the grounds of the Oak Park Cemetery during the summer, they have Civil War enactments. There is also a very interesting WWII memorial on the grounds.