Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site

603 South Fifth Street, Springfield, Illinois

Take a virtual tour of the home courtesy of the IHPA!

This is the house where Vachel Lindsay was born on Nov. 10, 1879 and where he died on Dec. 5, 1931. It is maintained as a state historic site by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday.

The Vachel Lindsay Home hosts regular programming including the "Poets in the Parlor" series featuring area poets sharing their works and the "Saturday Mornings at 603" series featuring historic and literary presentations.

The house is one of the gems on Springfield's crown, along with the Governor's Mansion, The Abraham Lincoln Home, Frank Lloyd Wright's Dana-Thomas House, the Elijah Iles House, The Edwards Place, and so many others. The Vachel Lindsay Home has been meticulously restored to represent a period approximate to the 1910s with original furnishings throughout.

The house reportedly was built in 1846 by the same people who built the Abraham Lincoln Home a short distance away. An early owner of the house was Clark M. Smith, the husband of Mary Todd Lincoln's sister, Ann. Abraham Lincoln is known to have visited the house and attended a reception in his honor there shortly before departing to Washington in 1861.

Dr. Vachel Thomas Lindsay, the poet's stern father, bought the house in 1878 and, with his wife, Katherine Frazee, raised three children there, Olive, Nicholas Vachel and Joy. After the parents had passed away and the house was rented out, Lindsay returned to the old homestead in 1927 with his young wife, Elizabeth, and their two children, Nick, Jr. and Susan Doniphan.

After Vachel's death, Elizabeth and the children left Springfield, while the house remained the property of Dr. Lindsay's surviving heirs. In 1958, it was aquired by the Vachel Lindsay House Fund and in 1990 it was donated to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.


Sherry Avila said...

Thanks for the blog article. We had stayed at a hotel owned by a politician across the street from the Hilton and down the street where I saw copies of Vachel Lindsay's images in the restaurant area which was named after him, and that is how I found out about his historic home which I sought out. When I visited the Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site a few years ago, I was very impressed!! I was very fortunate to have a magnificent docent (tour guide) who showed me around. She knew everything about Vachel Lindsay and more! It is also interesting to know that he went to the Art Institute of Chicago in 1901-03 since I am from Chicago. It was interesting that Vachel Lindsay was both an artist and a poet and very, very talented. Vachel Lindsay had an interest in social justice that he shared with us in his poetry and other writings. I was particularly interested in the fact that he painted the image of peace between the east and west for the inauguaration of the Panama Canal. I bought that print. Also, his painting of the bells in the trees stood out for me. I was also interested in the fact that he and his family went to China and other less-traveled places of that era. If you like historic sites, art and/or poetry/literature,this is the place to go!! Delightful!!

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