Edwards Place is
the oldest house on its own grounds in Springfield, and
for well over a century has been prominent in the
cultural life of the city.
Edwards, a lawyer, was the son of Ninian Edwards, first
territorial governor of Illinois and third state
governor (1826-1830). The Benjamin Edwards home was a
center of social and political life before and during
the Civil War. From one of its upper windows, Abraham
Lincoln once spoke to a gathering in the grove. The
grove was also the scene of a Stephen A. Douglas rally
attended by a charted train load of Douglas supporters
from Chicago. The house was thrown open to guests who
came to Springfield to attend Abraham Lincoln’s funeral.
The funeral cortege passed by the Edwards home.
Ferguson, daughter of Benjamin Edwards, deeded Edwards
Place to the Springfield Art Association in 1913. Since
that time, the house has functioned as a combination
club, museum, and art school.