Living in Springfield, Illinois, the Lincoln connections are common. I am always surprised when traveling outside of Springfield and finding Lincoln history in unexpected places like the Batavia Depot Museum.
My mom and I had headed to the Chicago suburbs for a play and a bit of browsing in little shops and I hoped learning a little history. The first exhibit in the depot brought home a sad chapter in Mary Todd Lincoln’s life, her tenure at Bellevue Place after a Chicago jury pronounced her insane in 1875.
A display at the museum offers a view of Mary’s bed and dresser from the room where she stayed in Bellvue.
The Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd accompanied Mary to Bellevue on May 20, 1875. She was able to go out and had a horse and carriage at her disposal. The location had been a lovely school so while it was an impressive place, Mary Todd Lincoln still was not a happy camper about her confinement.
The brochure I picked up on Bellevue said that Mary receive many visitors and that they received many letters not happy with her confinement. Although the brochure says, “Dr. Patterson and Robert did not think she was well enough, but in the end, they gave in to public pressure and on September 11, 1875, Mary went by train to Chicago and Robert escorted her to Springfield to her sister.”
Today Bellvue is comprised of townhouses but is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Batavia Depot Museum http://www.bataviahistoricalsociety.org/depot_museum.htm was quite a fascinating place with history on the windmill industry and other history that kept us content to browse for a time!