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State Historic Sites to Host Walk, Hike and Bike History Tours in Springfield beginning April 10

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced State Historic Sites in Springfield will host a series of free “Walk, Hike and Bike History” tours beginning April 10 and continuing through mid-November 2021.

“This new initiative creates fun and educational outdoor experiences that will make meaningful connections between our guests and must-see museums and monuments,” said Von Bandy, director of the IDNR Office of Land Management.

Tours will be guided by history education interpreters from the IDNR Office of Land Management, with each tour ranging in duration from one to two hours. Reservations, which will be required, can be made through the IDNR website. The capacity of all experiences will be limited and follow health and safety guidelines outlined by the Illinois Department of Public Health. All tours are free, and donations in support of local historic sites will be welcomed.

The initial schedule of 2021 “Walk, Hike and Bike History” experiences in Springfield will include:

• Friends of Lincoln Hike – This 90-minute hike through the beautiful hills of Oak Ridge Cemetery will pass by the graves of a number of Abraham Lincoln’s friends, neighbors, and political associates. At each stop, we will talk about the person’s life and highlight their interactions with the 16th president. Comfortable shoes and water recommended.

• Military History Hike – This 90-minute hike around Oak Ridge Cemetery will visit the final resting places of numerous veterans. This will include a mixture of both notable figures who served in prominent positions as well as soldiers who are little known today. Comfortable shoes and water recommended.

• History Bike Tour – Ride your own bicycle following a guide on a casual and easy-paced bicycle tour of historic sites in the capital city. This neighborhood-style ride will go past historic sites, including the Dana-Thomas House, First Black Fire House, Lincoln Home, Old State Capitol, Lincoln Tomb, and others. Information will be provided at nine stops along the route. The eight-mile round trip ride will take about two hours. Helmets are required and a water bottle is recommended.

  • 1908 Race Riot Walking Tour – Forty-three years after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and just six months before his 100th birthday, many of his hometown African American friends and their descendant’s lives were turned upside down by racial hate and economic jealousy during the Springfield 1908 Race Riot. This hour-long tour will discuss a portion of the devastating 1908 Race Riot.
  • Black History Walk – This 90-minute walk through Oak Ridge Cemetery focuses on the history of Springfield’s Black community, discussing great tragedies as well as stories of success in the face of severe adversity and prejudice. Water and hiking shoes recommended. Presented with the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum.
  • Design Like Frank Lloyd Wright Drawing Tour – one-hour, one-mile tour using hands-on activities and a walk into the Aristocracy Hill neighborhood to explore the development of Wright’s iconic architectural style, from his childhood experiences through the design of the Dana-Thomas House (1902-04) and other prairie homes. Guests of all ages will develop an understanding of the basic principles of organic architecture as they learn to design like Frank Lloyd Wright.  Please note, this tour only explores the exterior of sites.
  • Designing for Change Women’s History Walk – Walk the path of suffragists and learn how Susan Lawrence Dana collaborated with Frank Lloyd Wright to design a home in which she advanced her ideas about democracy. The one-hour, 1.5 mile walking tour will discuss the relationship between Wright’s Springfield project and the path to suffrage for Illinois women. Please note, this tour only explores the exterior of sites.

April 10 Kickoff Schedule

10:00-11:30 a.m., Friends of Lincoln Oak Ridge Cemetery Hike, Begins/ends at Lincoln Tomb
10:00 a.m.-Noon, Eight-mile Bike Tour, Begins/ends State Capitol Visitor Center
10:30-11:30 a.m., Design Like Frank Lloyd Wright Drawing Tour, Begins/ends Dana House courtyard
10:30-11:30 a.m., 1908 Race Riot Walking Tour, Begins/ends at Old State Capitol
1:00-2:30 p.m., Military History Hike at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Begins/ends at Lincoln Tomb
1:00-2:30 p.m., History Bike Tour 5 Houses/5 Miles, Begins/ends State Capitol Visitor Center
1:30-2:30 p.m., Designing for Change Women’s History Walk, Begins/ends Dana House courtyard
3:00-4:30 p.m., Black History Walk at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Begins/ends at Lincoln Tomb

Spring Weekly Schedule, beginning April 12

Tuesdays
10:00 a.m., Design Like Frank Lloyd Wright Drawing Tour, Begins/ends Dana House courtyard

Wednesdays
10:00-11:30 a.m., Friends of Lincoln Hike at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Begins/ends at Lincoln Tomb
10:00 a.m.-Noon History Bike Tour—8 miles, Begins/ends State Capitol Visitor Center
1:00- 2:30 p.m. History Bike Tour 5 Houses/5 Miles, Begins/ends State Capitol Visitor Center

Thursdays
10:30-11:30 a.m., 1908 Race Riot Walking Tour, Begins/ends at Old State Capitol
1:00-2:30 p.m., Military History Hike at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Begins/ends at Lincoln Tomb

Fridays
10:00 a.m.-Noon, Eight-mile Bike Tour, Begins/ends State Capitol Visitor Center
10:30-11:30 a.m., Design Like Frank Lloyd Wright Drawing Tour, Begins/ends Dana House courtyard
1:00-2:30 p.m., History Bike Tour 5 Houses/5 Miles, Begins/ends State Capitol Visitor Center
1:30-2:30 p.m., Designing for Change Women’s History Walk, Begins/ends Dana House courtyard
3:00-4:30 p.m., Black History Walk at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Begins/ends at Lincoln Tomb

Saturdays
10:30-11:30 a.m., 1908 Race Riot Walking Tour, Begins/ends at Old State Capitol
3:00-4:30 p.m., Friends of Lincoln Hike at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Begins/ends at Lincoln Tomb

Individuals or groups can visit the IDNR website at http://historicspringfield.dnr.illinois.gov/
to learn more and make reservations, or call 217-524-3971 or e-mail DNR.HistoricSpringfield@Illinois.gov.  The State Historic Sites at Springfield encourage inquiries about additional tours during mutually agreeable days and times. Scheduled tours will continue through mid-November 2021.

About State Historic Sites at Springfield
The IDNR State Historic Sites team of public servants in Springfield preserves six nationally significant museums and monuments, allowing staff to share the sites’ dynamic history with visitors from throughout the United States and around the world. Through the values of history, hospitality and health, we aim to ignite an appreciation for the people and places in Illinois that shaped the meaning of freedom and the character of our country. State Historic Sites are part of the IDNR Office of Land Management, which also oversees State Parks, State Recreation Areas, State Fish and Wildlife Areas, and State Habitat Areas.

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