Barak Obama rose to capture the hearts of the American people – and their votes.
Preceded by Lincoln, Reagan and Grant, Obama is fourth president of the United States to represent the state of Illinois. It is an Illinois tradition to honour their presidents with a special ‘trail’ that highlights the places where they spent their time in the state. Obama’s trail connects the places where Obama lived, taught, and even where he gave his victory speech after his first election to presidency.
Old State Capitol
The Old State Capitol historic site is to be found in Springfield. Built in the beautiful Greek Revival style in 1837, it was the fifth State Capitol building to be built in Illinois. It served as the state house from 1840 to 1876. Upon these steps is where both Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama announced their candidacies for president in 1858 and 2007 respectfully. The building has been extensively altered during its lifetime, and between 1966 and 1969 it was dismantled stone by stone and reconstructed to look like the original building.
University of Chicago Law School
Barrack Obama is an alumni of Columbia and Harvard, but before he was a president or even a senator, Obama was a teacher. He arrived at University of Chicago Law School in 1991 and taught Constitutional Law. It is at the University of Chicago where he honed his oratory skills and his ability to communicate complex ideas in a simple manner. Take a visit to the green lounge where Obama met his colleagues and students for coffee and stimulating conversation and visit the classrooms where Obama once taught.
Illinois State Capitol
The Old State Capitol is where Obama announced his candidacy, however the current Illinois State Capitol is where Obama worked for the majority of his time as a senator for the state. The Old State Capitol was Illinois’ fifth state building. Due to the swell in population that followed the Civil War, Illinois outgrew the fifth Capitol, so in 1868, construction of the sixth and current state building commenced. Unlike the Old State Capitol building, this new building was designed in the French Renaissance architecture style.
Tours of the current State Capitol building are coordinated through the Physical Services Department via the front desk of the building. Security is tight for the building, so all guests must have photo ID.
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Grant Park is consists of 3,129 hectares of pristine green in the central business district of Chicago. It is playfully and proudly referred to as ‘Chicago's front yard’, and it is also the place where Obama and thousands of his supporters gathered as he announced his first victory for presidency. Obama gave his victory speech here in front of 240,000 supporters and millions of television and internet viewers around the globe.
Grant Park also contains historical Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago campus, the Buckingham Fountain, tennis courts, volleyball courts, performance art and venues and harbour facilities for Lake Michigan.
Hyde Park And Kenwood
Obama and his family lived in a house in the Kenwood area of Hyde Park when was elected to the Senate in 2005. However, the family does not spend much time there these days, considering they live in the most coveted house in the country!
Guests can visit Kenwood and tour guides are happy to point out the Obama family’s beautiful Georgian-style house. Though the family does not live there currently, it is heavily watched over by secret service agents who prevent guests from getting too close.