Springfield, IL is mostly known as the longtime home of Abraham Lincoln, and any Springfield tour will include plenty of historical sites related to the Great Emancipator. Some of the most popular include the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Lincoln Home, where Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln lived for almost 20 years, and the Lincoln Tomb, where they were buried. However, Springfield’s culture certainly extends beyond Honest Abe’s legacy.
Springfield has long been a hub for the Midwest’s distinctive food culture. In fact, Springfield native Ed Waldmire was supposedly the creator of the modern corn dog, which he sold for decades at the Cozy Dog Drive-In. Although Ed and his wife, Virginia, are both long gone, the Waldmire family still runs the restaurant. Springfield is also well known for its own variety of chili, open-faced sandwiches called horseshoe sandwiches, and the Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop, which operates what it claims was the very first drive-thru window in the US. Even if Midwestern food isn’t your thing, we still recommend giving it a try in Springfield.
Besides Lincoln, there were several famous Americans who had roots in Springfield. Marjorie Merriweather Post, founder of the General Foods Corporation, was born in Springfield. Post inherited the Postum Cereal Company from her father, renamed it to the General Foods Corporation, and transformed it into a business empire, purchasing other food companies like Hellmann’s, Jell-O, Maxwell House, and Birdseye. Other famous Springfield residents include labor organizer John L. Lewis, astronomer Seth Barnes Nicholson, poet Vachel Lindsay, and animator Brendan Small, most famous as the creator of Home Movies and Metalocalpyse.
To make the most of your next trip to Illinois, check out our Springfield Self-Guided Walking Tour. More prolific travelers might also be interested in Action+, a new subscription service that grants access to over 100 tours for a single yearly price.
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