I flew into Saint Louis for the National Park Traveler’s club annual meeting. A club member decided to host a pre-convention meet-up in Springfield, Illinois at the Lincoln Home. Springfield is the State Capital and is also home to the Dana-Thomas House National Historic Landmark.
I drove the two hours from St. Louis and arrived early enough to tour the Dana-Thomas house before heading up to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.
Frank Lloyd Wright built this house in 1902–04 for patron Susan Lawrence Dana. Dana, a wealthy widow, commissioned Wright to remodel her Italianate mansion into a Prairie Style home. We met the tour guide at the front door and then walked through the garden into a side entrance. We were not allowed to take photos inside.
The first room the tour guide led us into was the only one left in the original style. Over the course of construction, Wright basically built an entirely new house. He showcased Dana’s collection of Japanese prints and installed hundreds of art glass windows. I don’t remember too much about the interior without the photos, but I remember all the gorgeous stained glass.
Over the years, Dana’s fortune dwindled and she could no longer keep up the main house. She closed it and moved into a smaller house on the grounds. She developed dementia in her old age. Charles Thomas, a medical book publisher, bought the home and contents from Dana in the 1940s.
The Thomas family maintained the home’s design and furnishings. They willed the estate to the state of Illinois. Illinois designated it a State Historic Site in 1981. The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency restored it to its 1910 appearance in 1990.
- Lincoln Home
- Lincoln Neighborhood
- Lincoln Tomb
Location: 301 E Lawrence Ave, Springfield, IL
Designation: National Historic Landmark, State Historic Site
Date designated/established: January 7, 1976 NHL
Date of my visit: July 13, 2022