Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War Tour

The online Abraham Lincoln Civil War Tour identifies four major tourist attractions in Chicago. This Tour gives a brief summary of the significance of these national landmarks in their commemoration of Lincoln and the Civil War. The Lincoln monument, located in Lincoln Park at North Dearborn Parkway, was sculpted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Stanford White in 1887. Designated a national landmark in 2001, the classical, lifelike statue of Lincoln in contemplation of his next public address is considered to be the best 19th century portrayal of our 16th president.

Included in the Civil War Tour is the tomb of Stephen Douglas, located at 35th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago. Built in 1881 and designated a landmark in 1977, the memorial was designed by Leonard Volk. Senator Douglas was famous for his debating skills, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, as well as for his vigorous campaign against Lincoln in 1858. Although Douglas died at the early age of 48, he contributed a great deal as an investor in the development of Chicago real estate. His tomb now stands on a part of the 53-acre estate “Oakenwald,” where he once lived.

The Soldiers’ Home at 739 E. 35th Street was built in several stages from 1864 until 1923, the main section by W. W. Boyington in 1866. It earned landmark status in 1996 as the last building left standing from the Civil War. Constructed through the efforts of a women’s group at the edge of the Camp Douglas prison camp, it served as a hospital for the wounded Union soldiers. Subsequently, it became a home for Union veterans from the Civil War. The unique architectural design typifies 19th century Italian villas with tall curved windows and doors, stone trim, and wood or metal ornate cornices.

A fourth landmark on the Civil War Tour of Chicago is the site of the Wigwam building, destroyed on or about the year 1867. Situated on the southeast corner of Lake Street and Wacker.Drive, it was the original location of the old Sauganash Hotel, built by Mark Beaubien in 1831 on the forks of the Chicago River at Wolf Point. In 1833, the Hotel was used as a meeting place for the early Town Council meetings and elections and later as a theater, until it was destroyed by fire in 1851. Nine years later, the Wigwam was constructed in its place. It gained historical significance when it housed the Republican Convention in 1860. Here, Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the most powerful leader in U.S. history, was elected our nation’s 16th president.

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