SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan and First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan today joined U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Congressman Ray LaHood (R-IL 18th), Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara, and members of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Foundation Board and the national Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission in placing the cornerstone for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, under construction in downtown Springfield.
“In 1863, Abraham Lincoln laid the foundation for American freedom when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation,” said Governor Ryan. “Today, nearly 140 years later, we commemorate our 16th President by placing this cornerstone for a building being constructed in his honor.”
The Governor and First Lady placed the 320-pound, Egyptian limestone cornerstone at the northeast corner of Jefferson and Sixth Streets, where the library’s public entrance will be located. Workers from Siciliano Inc., the general contractor for the construction project, assisted the Governor and First Lady.
“We are proud to pay tribute to Abraham Lincoln with a facility worthy of his legacy and the artifacts that illustrate his contribution to freedom and democracy,” said the First Lady.
Construction on the 98,000 square-foot library building continues, with an opening ceremony set for November 18, 2002. The library will be the new home to the Illinois State Historical Library and its 12 million items, which include the world famous 46,000-item Henry Horner Lincoln Collection. The library building will also include classroom and public event spaces.
Across the street from the library, work is underway on the 100,000 square-foot museum building, which will be complete by mid-2004. The museum will feature two journeys of discovery that place visitors in scenes and settings important to Lincoln’s life. The museum will also include two theaters, a children’s area, gift shop, restaurant, administrative offices, and a Treasures Gallery where some of the state’s priceless original Lincoln documents and artifacts may be displayed.
The construction is being overseen by the Illinois Capital Development Board, which manages all state construction projects.
The $115 million Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum complex is being paid for with state, federal, and City of Springfield funds. It will be staffed and operated by the State of Illinois. Private donations are being sought for a $35 million endowment that will fund symposia, educational programs, acquisitions, special events, and other activities.