Projects

Preservation of Lincoln and Springfield’s History

The internment records of Lincolns’ burials need to be restored and preserved. The simple, one-inch-thick book is the first volume of internment records beginning in 1858 at Oak Ridge, the second most visited cemetery In the United States due to its most famous internments. The second volume contains the record of Mary Lincoln’s 1882 funeral at the cemetery, among many others. Both books have deteriorated over time. As Director of Oak Ridge Cemetery, Mike Lelys, stated, “Time has not been kind to them after 150 years of people looking at the books. If nothing is done, they will deteriorate to the point of not being readable.”

There is more to it than our Country’s favorite son, the history of Springfield is also within the roughly 200 plus pages this effort will preserve. Preservation costs include the restoration of the two books, an archival display case and facsimile copies of the documents for educational viewing.

Total restoration cost: $40,000

A GoFundMe account will soon be created to help fundraise!

Check out the Oak Ridge Cemetery Internment Records HERE

Oak Ridge GoFundMe


New Signs around the Cemetery

 Among the Foundation’s current projects is an effort to address the aging signage throughout the cemetery, including informative graphics about select gravesites, notable areas, and historic trees, as well as cohesive wayfinding signs to simplify navigation throughout the grounds. We have also worked to bring the signage at Oak Ridge into the mobile-friendly age. The new signs will include “Quick-Read” codes that smartphones of every make and model can scan to find beautiful photographs and biographical information of people, trees, and locations. With your generous support, this project will bring the history of Oak Ridge to life for a new generation of amateur historians!


The “New” Original Entrance

In the summer of 2015, Oak Ridge played host to an international audience of Lincoln enthusiasts and history aficionados for the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s funeral reenactment. The 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train entered Oak Ridge Cemetery through the newly-rebuilt archway sponsored by the Oak Ridge Cemetery Foundation and its dedicated members and donors. We were proud, and more than a little fortunate, to honor President Lincoln and his legacy with this special memorium.

Thanks to the ongoing support of our members and community partners, the Foundation will continue to preserve the historical significance of Oak Ridge in new and innovative ways. Join us as we protect this national treasure for decades to come.


 Monument Avenue Restoration

The Monument Avenue Restoration is nearly complete with the replica overhead arch the final touch. A paved median, large flower planters, and turn of the century light poles have already been installed in the area. The project entails the restoration of the historic archway, historically aesthetic fencing, an additional U.A. flag pole, and the Eagle Scout project of the decorative landscaping with an irrigation system will provide a fine compliment. A recent addition is a gift of the final funds from the Brinkerhoff Foundation in the way of a historic clock. This beautiful clock will greet you as you turn off of North Grant heading North to our beloved Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Bell Tower Restoration

 Bring back the Toll to the Original Bell Tower in the Heart of the Cemetery. Currently the bell tower is not operating correctly due to the age and the exposure to the elements. It is our goal to restore the toll. This beautiful sound will be chiming on the hours and at special events. The original bell tower is located across from Lincoln’s vault in line with the Original Entrance.

Tours, Monuments and Trees

Virtual Tours of Historic and Significant Monuments and Trees. Once our historic information is gathered, developed and plotted anyone with a smart phone will be able to walk the cemetery and watch podcasts and or use QR codes (quick reference) for in depth stories and information plentiful within Oak Ridge Cemetery.
Oak Ridge Cemetery is the second most visited cemetery in the United States. Sadly, the historic entrance to this national treasure on Monument Avenue in Springfield, IL has fallen in disrepair and is losing its historic significance. A paved median, large flower planters, and turn of the century light poles have already been installed in the area, now it’s time for more improvements. Our project is to restore the historic archway at the entrance, install historically aesthetic fencing, adding a U.S. flag pole and decorative landscaping.
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