Springfield, Illinois - Culture - Tourism

Tourism

Springfield is known for some popular food items: the corn dog on a stick is claimed to have been invented in the city under the name “Cozy Dog,” although there is some debate to the origin of the snack. The horseshoe sandwich, not well known outside of central Illinois, also originated in Springfield. Springfield was once the site of the Reisch Beer brewery, which operated for 117 years under the same name and family from 1849 to 1966.

The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop in Springfield still operates what it claims as the first U.S. drive-thru window. The city is also known for its chili, or “chilli”, as it is known in many chili shops throughout Sangamon County. The unique spelling is said to have begun with the founder of the Den Chilli Parlor in 1909, due to a spelling error in its sign. Another interpretation is that the misspelling represented the “Ill” in the word Illinois. In 1993 the Illinois state legislature adopted a resolution proclaiming Springfield the “Chilli Capital of the Civilized World.”

The city of Springfield is dotted with sites associated with the U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln, who started his political career there. These include the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, a National Historical Park that includes the preserved surrounding neighborhood; the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site, the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site, the Old State Capitol State Historic Site, the Lincoln Depot, from which Abraham Lincoln departed Springfield to be inaugurated in Washington D.C.; the Elijah Iles House, Edwards Place and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Near the village of Petersburg, is New Salem State Park, a restored hamlet of log cabins. This is a reconstruction of the town where Lincoln lived as a young man. With the opening of the Presidential Library and Museum in 2004, the city has attracted numerous prominent visitors, including President George W. Bush, the actor Liam Neeson, and the Emir of Qatar.

The Donner Party, a group of pioneers who resorted to cannibalism while snowbound during a winter in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, began their journey West from Springfield. Springfield's Dana-Thomas House is among the best preserved and most complete of Frank Lloyd Wright's early "Prairie" houses. It was built in 1902–1904 and has many of the furnishings Wright designed for it. Springfield's Washington Park is home to Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon and the site of a carillon festival, held annually since 1962. In August, the city is the site of the Illinois State Fair.

Although not born in Springfield, Lincoln is the city's most famous resident. He lived there for 24 years. The only home he ever owned is open to the public, seven days a week, free of charge, and operated by the National Park Service.

Springfield has the area's largest amusement park: Knights Action Park and Caribbean Water Park, which is Open from May to September.

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