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Springfield Tour
10-11-2013, 09:07 AM
Post: #46
RE: Springfield Tour
Thanks for the update, Rob. Hope the weather holds for the duration.
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10-11-2013, 04:44 PM
Post: #47
RE: Springfield Tour
Well, the truth can now be told. Joe Di Cola is my long-lost father.

We had just exited the Feed Store after a sumptuous lunch (don't tell my cardiologist) when a local entrepreneur between assignments came up to us with his backpack full of Milk Duds and asked Joe if he was my father. Of course, Joe had no choice but to acknowledge the sad truth. The man said he knew it had to be so as both Joe and my foreheads exceeds the hair growth. Before leaving, Joe declined to donate to his college fund (or liquor purchase) and we left the area.

My morning in the Lincoln Presidential Library was smashing. I found a number of letters that not only will help me with my Tarbell book, but also with my Sandburg book. The rest of the group spent the morning going through the Lincoln Museum.

After the disclosure of my paternity, we went to the Dana-Thomas House, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright at the turn of the century. No pictures were allowed inside, but this link will give you all the pictures you'll need. The house was lit as it would have been at the turn of the century, which meant it was dark. Sadly, a woman on another tour had fallen in the courtyard, requiring the calling of an ambulance.

http://www.dana-thomas.org/

From there we walked down to 8th and Jackson and looked at the Lincoln House from the outside. School children were all about, as the grounds remained open. A rather ample man was telling the students about the dream Lincoln had before the assassination. We are back now, and will head over to Saputos for dinner after Cheryl and I go across the street and enjoy a beverage with Father and the gang.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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10-11-2013, 05:09 PM
Post: #48
RE: Springfield Tour
Wow - that's the second time that has happened to Joe. Back in April he was visiting relatives in the general area where I live, and Vicki and I met him for a delightful lunch at the Village Oyster Bar in Punta Gorda. The waitress asked if he were (was? help, Laurie) my father. Joe left no tip and asked me to do the same.
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10-11-2013, 06:10 PM
Post: #49
RE: Springfield Tour
You are correct with "were," Roger. Joe - unless my eyesight is terrible, your photo in the avatar does not make you look like you are any older than Rob and Roger. Are you faking your avatar? Of course, I suspect that I'm in your age range; so maybe you just look young to me.
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10-12-2013, 06:55 AM
Post: #50
RE: Springfield Tour
We ended Friday night at a local eatery, Saputo's, which is a nice little Italian place just down the street from where we're staying. It's like we've known each other for years now (which, in the case of Joe, Gene, Bill and myself, is true, even if this is the first time we've actually met). I don't imagine there was too much insomnia among anyone as dinner was a bit subdued as we all were processing the day's events and the fact that we were all pretty much wiped out.

On our last full day we will take in the alpha and the omega of Lincoln's Illinois years as we travel to New Salem this morning and pay homage to Ann Rutledge, Hannah Armstrong, Bowling Green and others. From there we will head back to Oak Ridge Cemetery and commune with Father Abraham. If the weather holds out (there is a threat of rain today) we will also visit William Herndon and well as more modern Lincoln relics like Oliver Barrett, Harry Pratt and Benjamin Thomas. After paying our respects we will do our part for the Springfield economy by visiting Prairie Archives, the best used bookstore in town, and possibly some other shops located on the Springfield square.

One note I forgot to mention yesterday. I knew Roland W. "Rollo" Diller's drugstore was on the east side of the Old State House square, but as we were walking to the Lincoln Presidential Library I happened upon a sign that marked the location where Ida M. Tarbell first met the inestimable Mr. Diller and where Billy Brown was born. Cheryl and I now have a photo of us with the sign.

Instead of posting photos piecemeal, I plan to wait until we make it home and do it all at once.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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10-12-2013, 03:43 PM
Post: #51
RE: Springfield Tour
Here is a very short video of the group at the Lincoln Tomb. Left to right: Rob Wick, Bill Nash, Joe Di Cola, and Gene Cook (alias Fido).

Joe sent this - thank you, Joe! It's a nostalgic sight for me as the last time I stood in that spot was in 1994 - my final Springfield trip with the 8th grade class. (We took about 5 bus loads each year.)

If your computer won't play the short movie (.mov file), here is a screenshot I took from the video:

[Image: robjimjoegene.jpg]

Here is a link about rubbing Lincoln's nose.
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10-12-2013, 05:03 PM
Post: #52
RE: Springfield Tour
Great looking group of gentlemen scholars.
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10-12-2013, 06:36 PM
Post: #53
RE: Springfield Tour
What a great looking group! Thanks for sharing, guys....

"The Past is a foreign country...they do things differently there" - L. P. Hartley
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10-12-2013, 08:27 PM (This post was last modified: 10-12-2013 08:39 PM by Gene C.)
Post: #54
RE: Springfield Tour
It has been a real pleasure to visit the Lincoln sites with this group. The wives have been great about it all. I have learned some great stories about Bill and Rob. Today all of seven off us piled into the mini van and visited New Salem, visited Ann Rutledge grave site then Lincoln's tomb and other persons of interest graves, like Herndon, Benjamin Thomas and others. Then a much anticipated trip to Prarie Archives book store where I got to see Rob and Bill in action. The black Friday shoppers at Walmart could learn a thing or two from them. Truly an amazing experience.

Joe is an excellent guide so privileged to learn from him. He is so knowledgeable about so many different things and has a great sense of humour

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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10-12-2013, 08:37 PM
Post: #55
RE: Springfield Tour
The day began not only with the threat of rain, but actual rain. However, once we got on the road (courtesy of Gene and his lovely wife, Joy), the sun came out and generally stayed out the entire day.

Our first destination was to Farmer's Point Cemetery where Mentor Graham lies. Graham, as you know, tutored Lincoln after Lincoln's arrival in New Salem. We paid our respects, took some photos, and then it was on to New Salem. It had been 41 years since I had last visited the site, and the only memory I have of it was when the blacksmith, showing us how horse shoes were made, accidentally let the hot shoe fly causing it to strike my aunt in the ankle. There were some things I remembered seeing, like the Lincoln statue on horseback at the entrance of the park. Somewhere in the countless pictures my mother left behind, there's a photo of me and my family next to the horse. Now, there's another of an older, and hopefully wiser, man.

With our expert guide, Joe, we walked through the site taking photos and, I think, imagining what it must have been like for the young Lincoln as he walked in that same area. There were a couple of docents holding court in the cooper's house and the first Lincoln-Berry store, both of whom told very interesting and informative stories. There were also a number of young people wandering around, early in the process of making their own Lincoln memories.

We drove into Petersburg, but the restaurant we were going to eat in didn't open until 4:30, so instead we went to the local Subway and had a fine meal anyway. We then headed for the Old Concord Cemetery, which was quite an adventure. The road, if one can call it that, which leads into the cemetery is rather crude. But once we got there, it was well worth it. Old Concord Cemetery is the original burial site of Ann Rutledge. It was a bit jarring to see the modern stone which marks the site of her grave, alongside old (and sometimes illegible) original stones. Also buried there is Jack Armstrong, of wrestling fame, some of the Clary family and other Rutledges. Bill found himself a project, as he plans to contact the closest chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans organization to help relocate the headstone of a Union veteran that had somehow become unmoored.

I would estimate that since the age of 8, I've been to Springfield over 30 times, and even though I've seen Lincoln's tomb countless times, the experience remains one of the most moving. But this year it was also unsettling. The interior of the tomb is in desperate need of repair. Where Lincoln's body lies, the trim around the alcove is in desperate need of painting and the ceiling of the front area of the tomb is falling. How the state of Illinois let it get into the shape it's in is unfathomable.

It was the experience of seeing the graves of William Herndon, the poet Vachel Lindsey and Lincoln notables and scholars like Oliver Barrett, the famous collector of Lincolniana, Benjamin Thomas and Harry E. Pratt that also moved me. Ironically, just down from Herndon's grave is an obelisk with the name "Booth" on the side, although the possibility that Booth escaped Garrett's Farm and moved to Springfield and is buried within walking distance of Lincoln's tomb is one that even Finis Bates couldn't have imagined.

As Cheryl, Donna (Bill's lovely bride), and Joy didn't want to search for treasures in Prairie Archives, the Lincoln Nerds dropped them off at our respective hotels and ventured forth. I took the prize for having the most explaining to do about how much money I spent, but I did find a treasure. It is a bust of Lincoln that, while not of the same caliber is the one I posted a while back from the Abraham Lincoln Bookshop, is still pretty darn nice. Even better...it only cost me $30. I've already turned down Bill's offer of $50, although he got a signed Lloyd Ostendorf print that he's pretty proud of.

As our time starts to wind down, and we collect our treasures and prepare to depart, we spent one last night in a wonderful restaurant, Maldaners, which is just down the street from our hotels. Everyone agreed that if you want to dine, as opposed to just eating, let Joe pick out the place. The walk down and back was made more pleasant by the lack of precipitation and the lack of humidity. I even wore a light jacket on the walk back.

Tomorrow we gather one last time to eat breakfast and then say goodbye. Even though we all will be saddened by that, we will be richer for the experience. We will bask in the knowledge that we've come that much closer to a more nuanced and mature understanding of the greatest president this country has ever produced. Not a bad thing, if you ask me.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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10-13-2013, 03:22 AM (This post was last modified: 10-13-2013 03:24 AM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #56
RE: Springfield Tour
Thanks for sharing all your "adventures" and the cool photos! (Thanks Roger and Kate for posting the latter.) Would be great if you could also post a picture of New Salem. Forgive my ignorance - I always thougth the original New Salem doesn't exist anymore. Are the buildings the original ones or rebuildings?
Have a safe trip home now!
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10-13-2013, 05:31 AM
Post: #57
RE: Springfield Tour
(10-13-2013 03:22 AM)Eva Elisabeth Wrote:  Thanks for sharing all your "adventures" and the cool photos! (Thanks Roger and Kate for posting the latter.) Would be great if you could also post a picture of New Salem. Forgive my ignorance - I always thougth the original New Salem doesn't exist anymore. Are the buildings the original ones or rebuildings?
Have a safe trip home now!

Hi Eva. The experts may need to correct me on this, but I think all buildings are reconstructions except for the Onstot Cooper Shop.
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10-13-2013, 05:47 AM
Post: #58
RE: Springfield Tour
Roger,

You are correct in that. Most of the buildings are on the original foundations, but the cooper shop is the only one that is original. As soon as I get home, I will upload all the pictures, including the ones at New Salem.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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10-13-2013, 09:18 AM
Post: #59
RE: Springfield Tour
Donna and I are now driving back to our home in Michigan. I can't say how much we enjoyed the trip. This is our wedding anniversary month-so the specialness was doubled. We both felt like we knew Joe, Gene, Rob, Joy, and Cheryl our our lives. Joe was an outstanding guide. My sincere heartfelt thanks to him. And such a wealth of knowledge! Rob brought us the Tarbell insights and shared wonderful stories of his work. Gene very kindly loaded us all into his van yesterday as we drove the sites. The ladies were gracious-allowing us to be the Lincoln nerds that we are. We some some things off the beaten trail (thanks to Joe) that we would never have seen otherwise. I am going to work to have a Union soldier's grave marker at Old Concord Cemetery reposted. Of course, the Lincoln Tomb was a highlight. Joe seemed to attract a listening audience wherever we all went. He puts the docents to shame. It had been predicted to rain Saturday. I thought of Patton commanding the Chaplain for fair weather. I sent a small request myself. Thankfully it didn't rain! The memories of it all will be precious for us all. Well, it's back to home now.

Bill Nash
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10-14-2013, 11:40 AM
Post: #60
RE: Springfield Tour
Here are my photos from the trip. Enjoy!!

Best
Rob

http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfield...546929876/

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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