The Old State Capitol State Historic Site, in Springfield, Illinois, is the fifth capitol building built for the U. S. state of Illinois. It was built in the Greek Revival style in 1837–1840, and it is the site of candidacy announcements by Abraham Lincoln in 1858 and Barack Obama in 2007. From 1820 through 1837, the capital of the young state of Illinois was the small village of Vandalia. On the National Road, Vandalia was initially well-situated to fulfill its governmental role, as northern Illinois opened to settlement in the 1830s, however, public pressure grew for the capital to be relocated to a location closer to the geographic center of the state. A caucus of nine Illinois lawmakers, including the young Whig Party lawyer Abraham Lincoln and their efforts were successful in 1837, when the Illinois General Assembly passed a law creating a two-year transition period with the goal of moving the capital to Springfield in 1839. Workers built an office building, large for the time. The cost was $240,000, of which the city of Springfield paid $50,000 and it was in this building that Lincoln served his final term as a state lawmaker in 1840–41. It was here, as a lawyer, that he pleaded cases before the supreme court in 1841–60. It was here, in the Illinois House chamber, that he made his House Divided speech in June 1858, announcing his candidacy for the U. S. Senate. It was to the chamber, in May 1865, that his body was returned, arriving from Washington. From 1876 until 1966, the Old State Capitol was the county courthouse of Sangamon County, during this time the building was extensively altered. In the early 1960s, the Civil War centennial rekindled interest in the historic central Springfield structure, in addition, Sangamon Countys space needs had grown so urgent as to require the county to build for itself an entirely new courthouse building. The county retroceded the Old State Capitol to the state of Illinois, in order to restore and preserve the Old State Capitol, which had been extensively altered during its life as a courthouse, workers completely dismantled it, stone by stone, and rebuilt it. The public areas of the Old State Capitol were reconstructed to resemble the appearance of the building in 1860, the reconstruction work was carried out in 1966–69, and the rebuilt House Chamber was available for the states Constitutional Convention to use in 1970. The restored Old State Capitol continues to be used for ceremonial functions, visitors can tour the capitol on their own or take 30-minute guided tours. A commemorative one-cent piece was minted for circulation in 2009 to celebrate Lincolns work as a lawyer. It used the Old State Capitol, which incorporated a courtroom for the Illinois Supreme Court where Lincoln pleaded key cases in his legal career, the Old State Capitol grounds are used as the venue for the Springfield Old Capitol Art Fair, an annual May festival. Illinois State Capitol Old State Capitol State Historic Site - Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
The Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.
First floor interior and staircase of Old State Capitol.