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updated: 6/20/2014 4:37 PM

Springfield project to overhaul Lincoln law office

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  • Tourists enter the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices in Springfield, where Abraham Lincoln practiced law from 1843 to 1852.

      Tourists enter the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices in Springfield, where Abraham Lincoln practiced law from 1843 to 1852.
    Associated Press/2002

  • Bill Sherer, left, a historic site interpreter for the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices in Springfield, portrays Gibson Harris, a law clerk of Lincoln's for a group of tourists.

      Bill Sherer, left, a historic site interpreter for the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices in Springfield, portrays Gibson Harris, a law clerk of Lincoln's for a group of tourists.
    Associated Press/2002

 
Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- Plans are underway to overhaul the historic Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices site in downtown Springfield, including a working version of an 1840s dry goods store similar to one that was below Abraham Lincoln's law practice.

About $1.2 million to pay for the project comes from state capital construction funds. State officials say a start date for construction hasn't been set. They are finalizing designs and soliciting bids. Once construction starts the site will be closed for 15 months.

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Seth Tinsley ran the store and rented office space upstairs to Abraham Lincoln and William Herndon for their legal practice.

The Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices building was built in 1840 and is the oldest non-reconstructed building on Springfield's Old Capitol Plaza.

Renovations also will include new windows, signs, mechanical system upgrades and making the building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, The State Journal-Register reports.

One of the goals is to educate about Springfield's 19th century economy. Historic interpreters will answer visitor questions and reproductions of 1840s merchandise will be for sale.

"The idea was this is an important spot in downtown Springfield with a lot of foot traffic there," said Chris Wills, spokesman for the state Historic Preservation Agency. "We want to make it more inviting and attractive so families will wander in."

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