Lincoln's Tomb 1900

Illinois State Register

Tomorrow, if you go out to the Lincoln Tomb, with all its modernized architectural design and beauty of landscaping, take along this old picture of the structure as it looked in 1900, for comparison purposes. Especially note the difference in the "approach" to the Tomb, the terraced effect, the hitching post in front, the small planked footwalk along the driveway, the little tree just outside the entrance, the benches near-by---and, most of all, the picket fence which completely encircled the grass plot. This is the only picture we have seen which shows the wooden fence---which, we are told, stood there for a number of years beginning sometime in the Nineties. As we have said, to old-time residenters the original Monument seemed to have a certain majesty of its own which was very impressive. In those days too, the internal structure was quite different. The south door led directly into the office of the custodian-Major Johnson was then the incumbent-which also served the purpose of a museum where many interesting relics and mementos concerned with the life of the Great Emancipator were on display. On the north side of the Tomb was the catacomb with its heavy grilled door through which visitors could see the white marble sarcophagus of the Martyred President-and behind it the crypts wherein rested the remains of Mrs. Lincoln and the three younger boys-Eddie, Willie and Tad. As will be noted here, there was a door on the south side of the base of the obelisk, opening to the circular iron staircase which led to the top of the shaft. A fine view of the vicinity could be obtained through the round apertures under the cap, and many thousands of visitors climbed that staircase in the early period. The present shaft is twenty feet higher and the door below it has been permanently blocked off. Let us hope that, weather permitting, many will go out to the Tomb tomorrow, to renew their acquaintance with this great national shrine. In times like these, there is a special blessing and benediction in paying this tribute to our beloved Lincoln and his deathless fame.

Submitted by: Jeanie Lowe


Copyright 2007 Jeanie Lowe & contributors
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Illinois Ancestors