Springfield is the capital of the U.S. state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County. The city’s population was 116,250 at the 2010 U.S. Census, which makes it the state’s sixth most-populous city, the second largest outside of the Chicago metropolitan area (after Rockford), and the largest in central Illinois.
Settlement of the area began in 1820 when John Kelly built a cabin on what is now the corner of Second and Jefferson streets. Originally named Calhoun for U.S. Senator and Vice President John C. Calhoun, it took its current name, derived from nearby Spring Creek, in 1832. Abraham Lincoln moved to Springfield from New Salem on April 15, 1837, and lived there until he became president in 1861. Springfield had a population of less than 3,000 when it was chosen as the state capital in 1837 (government offices moved to Springfield from Vandalia in 1839), largely through the efforts of Lincoln and eight other members of the Illinois legislature (known as the “Long Nine” because they were all over 6 feet [1.8 metres] tall).
One of the legendary food items that is part of the heritage of Springfield is the horseshoe sandwich. The horseshoe sandwich originated in Springfield, Illinois sometime in the early 20th century at the Leland Hotel.
The lore and reputation of Abraham Lincoln has made Springfield a global destination because of the story of his life and the location in Springfield of his home and the Abraham Presidential Library and Museum. However, Springfield draws people year round for festivals and events including the Illinois State Fair; the annual Route 66 Mother Road Festival; the International Carillon Festival; downtown’s Old Capitol Farmer’s Market; the SoHo Music Festival and activities at Southwind Park, an 80 acre state-of-the-art park that serves as a national model by providing inclusion for all people, with a special emphasis given to individuals with physical and cognitive needs.
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