Home | News | Books | Speeches | Places | Resources | Education | Timelines | Index | Search

© Abraham Lincoln Online

Edwards Place

700 N. 4th Street
Springfield, Illinois

Lincoln in Springfield Photo Tour

When Benjamin and Helen Dodge Edwards made their home a center of Springfield's early social and political life, they attracted Abraham and Mary Lincoln as occasional visitors. They met Mary soon after arriving in Springfield in 1840, because both were temporary residents at Mary's sister's home. Helen quickly established what would become a lifelong friendship with Mary. The Edwards's were among the small group of friends who were present at the Lincoln's marriage ceremony in 1842.

The Edwards's bought the house in 1843 and eventually enlarged it to 15 rooms -- with enough space to host the entire Illinois Legislature for dinner. It was built in 1833 by Thomas Houghan, and is now the oldest house in Springfield still on its original foundation. In Lincoln's time it was set in a 14-acre grove of elm, walnut, and maple trees on the northern edge of town.

© Abraham Lincoln Online
Benjamin Edwards, born 10 years after Lincoln, was a son of Ninian Edwards, first Territorial Governor of Illinois. His older brother, also named Ninian, married Elizabeth Todd, Mary Todd Lincoln's older sister. Both Benjamin (Yale Law School) and Ninian (Transylvania University) became lawyers and moved to Springfield. Benjamin formed his first law partnership in 1840 with Edward D. Baker, one of Lincoln's closest friends. By 1843 he established a practice with John T. Stuart, Lincoln's first law partner. Occasionally he worked with Lincoln on law cases.

© Abraham Lincoln Online
The house contains seven portraits by George P.A. Healy, former court painter to King Louis Phillippe of France. Healy is famous for his Lincoln portraits which hang in places such as the White House, National Portrait Gallery, and Chicago History Museum. As you walk around the first-floor rooms, you will see his oil likenesses of Benjamin and Helen, Ninian and Elizabeth Edwards, and others from Springfield.

The house also contains artifacts connected to the Lincolns, such as the restored black horsehair sofa from their courting days which belonged to Ninian Edwards, whose house is no longer standing, and a wooden picture frame made of floorboards from the Lincoln home.

UPDATE: The house is temporarily closed to tours for renovation, and is scheduled to reopen March 2018. Starting March 2018 tours will be Tuesday through Friday at 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. and on Saturday at noon, 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. For more information call 217/523-2631.

Related Reading
Davenport, Don. In Lincoln's Footsteps: A Historical Guide to the Lincoln Sites in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. Revised edition, Trails Books, 2002.

Related Links
Edwards Place
Looking for Lincoln

Home | News | Education | Timelines | Places | Resources | Books | Speeches | Index | Search

Text and photos copyright © 2019 Abraham Lincoln Online. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy