Also, scholars working for the state of Illinois unearthed documents
that shed new light on state history, and the Illinois Historic
Preservation Agency gained a new director.
Sadly, two historic
sites were damaged in 2012; and preservationists warned of more
one-of-a-kind buildings in danger of being lost forever.
Here's a look back at 2012 and Illinois history:
"Lincoln" was a hit with audiences and critics. Thanks to Daniel
Day-Lewis' performance, it showed a very human Lincoln balancing his
ideals against the nitty-gritty of Washington politics as he
attempted to pass an amendment ending slavery. It may be a cliché,
but this is one movie that really did bring history to life.
The 16th president also appeared in a decidedly nonhistoric
movie: "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." This version of Lincoln
battled slave-devouring vampires with his silver-bladed axe.
Want a detailed look at the blood-stained gloves Lincoln carried
on the night of his assassination? How about a 360-degree
examination of his famous stovepipe hat? You can get both, and more,
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library made it easier to look
up historical and genealogical information, from newspapers to
obituaries to military records. Just go to
click on "Library" and start looking around.
The presidential library's Papers of Abraham Lincoln project also
got a grant to begin using computers to analyze anonymous political
comments in Illinois newspapers to determine which ones were written
Kincaid Mounds, an official National Historic Landmark, was
damaged by someone driving on the historic site and digging for
artifacts or human remains. The mounds in deep southern Illinois
mark a major political center for Native Americans during the
Mississippian period (roughly A.D. 1000-1400).
Fire destroyed a historic picnic pavilion at the Fort Kaskaskia
State Historic Site. The pavilion stood atop a bluff with an amazing
view of the Mississippi River, and people from the area have fond
memories of picnics, reunions and weddings at the pavilion, which
was built in 1942. Two local nonprofit organizations quickly
launched efforts to raise money for a replacement.
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The Papers of Abraham Lincoln project located several fascinating
documents in its quest to record everything ever written by or to
the 16th president. The discoveries include the earliest account of
Lincoln's death by the doctor who treated him, Lincoln's pay and
travel records from his two years serving in Congress, and a
previously unknown, signed copy of his second annual message to
The 16th president's wife had a big year in 2012. The Abraham
Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum sponsored two mock trials on
the question of whether her son Robert was right to have her
committed in 1875. Juries in Chicago and Springfield found that Mary
Lincoln, though troubled, was not insane.
The museum also held two events looking at the fashions Mary
Lincoln wore through the years as she changed from young wife to
first lady to grieving widow.
It also came to light that a painting of Mary Lincoln in the
Illinois governor's mansion was not a painting of her at all. A
portrait of an unknown woman had been doctored to resemble Mary
Lincoln, complete with a locket showing her husband, to defraud the
Landmarks Illinois released its annual list of endangered
historic sites, including Chicago's former Prentice Women's
Hospital, the Freeport City Hall and neighborhood schools across the
state. Gov. Pat Quinn later signed a new law making it clear that
school districts could renovate old buildings instead of replacing
Amy Martin was named director of the Illinois Historic
Preservation Agency in May. Formerly state coordinator of the
Illinois Main Street Program, Martin has set out to encourage
tourism at historic sites as a way of helping the state economy.
One of the most popular sites for history buffs is the Abraham
Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which has welcomed more
than 3 million visitors since opening seven years ago. David
Blanchette, head of communications for the Historic Preservation
Agency, was promoted to deputy director of the library and museum in
[Text from file received from the
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]