At the age of 28, in 1837, Lincoln moved from New Salem to Springfield to start his law career. He married Mary Todd in 1842, and the two of them moved into the now-historical home in 1844. Outside of Lincoln's time as Congressman (1847 - 1849) and the 16th President of the U.S (1861 - 1865), it was the couple's only home (and the only one Lincoln ever owned).
Lincoln's early years in the house were marked by his time as a lawyer, where he walked to his Springfield law office that he shared with Billy Herndon. While there, Mary gave birth to three of their four sons, one of whom (Eddie) died there. As well, Lincoln -- who had been elected to the Illinois Legislature in 1834, 1836, 1838, 1840, and 1844 -- increasingly became involved in national politics. In addition to serving as a U.S. Representative from 1847-49, he pursued and then dropped out of a run for the US Senate in 1854 so that the Republican Party would be guaranteed a win, and then ran again for Senate in 1858 -- a race marked by the famous Lincoln-Douglas Debates. During that time, the house itself underwent many renovations and expansions, including the addition of a second floor.
The family remained in the house until Lincoln became the Republican Presidential Candidate during the 1860 election, which eventually led to the U.S. Civil War. He, nor his family, ever returned to the home after leaving for Washington.
L, Tilton, president of the Great Western Railroad; George H. Harlow, one of the founders of the Union League; and 0, H. Oldroyd, who assembled the collection of Lincoln mementos lived in the residents after Lincoln's departure. However, in 1887, Robert Todd Lincoln donated the building to the State of Illinois on the condition that it be made available to the public at no cost.
Illinois has kept that promise, and the house is now a state historic site and museum that has welcomed millions of visitors over the years. Trained guides lead twenty-minute tours throughout the home, teaching visitors about the Lincoln family's daily life during their time in Springfield. The home, along with the small, perfectly preserved neighborhood surrounding, is like a walk back into the 1850s. Visitors to the home might expect to see Lincoln riding down the street on Bob, his horse, after a day of practicing law.