Great Western Depot


Skill level for model-building:  Moderate

The Great Western Depot was the site of Abraham Lincolns’ Farewell Speech as he left Springfield, Illinois for Washington, D.C. to become the 16th President of the United States. The Great Western Railroad had constructed the simple brick building in 1852 as a one story structure and used it primarily as a passenger station during Lincoln's time.  The characteristic wide overhanging roof provided shelter for passengers, belongings, and freight as they awaited their train.  Although fire heavily damaged the structure in 1857 and a second story was added in 1900, the general exterior appearance did not change greatly.  Passenger service was moved to a new building in 1868, but the depot continued to be used for freight service for a number of years by the railroad. Various other businesses used the depot as a warehouse prior to the 1960's when the building was purchased to preserve its historic association.  It has since been a historic site with a Lincoln focus.  In 1987 the State Journal Register (now owned by Gatehouse Media, Inc.), the descendant of the newspaper Lincoln knew, took control of the building and its maintenance and works in partnership with the National Park Service to interpret the historic site.

Click to learn more about the Great Western Depot 

The text of Abraham Lincoln’s Farewell to Springfield Speech delivered next to the Great Western Depot, as was about to begin his inaugural train journey on February 11, 1861 is below:

My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of the Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell. - Abraham Lincoln, February 11, 1861

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Tips for construction of cardstock models:

  1. Print the model pages out in color onto cardstock. Normal weight paper will be too flimsy. Larger, more challenging buildings can take many sheets of cardstock. For example, the Gardner Museum takes 10 sheets; Old Main requires 17; while the Old State Capitol requires a substantial 41 sheets (not for the faint-hearted). Smaller less complex buildings are better for first-time or younger builders. The Thomas Lincoln home and the Berry-Lincoln Store each only require 2 sheets; most of the Main Street buildings take 5 sheets or less of cardstock.
  2. Although not required, you may wish to print out a second copy (plain paper is fine) as a reference guide. Once you start cutting out your cardstock model pieces you may find it helpful to be able to read all of the notes and arrows on a second, uncut, plain-paper copy.
  3. Use sharp scissors or a slim, handled, craft-knife when cutting. A metal straight-edge will assist when you cut.
  4. Although standard white “school” glues will work, some similar “craft” opaque white glues dry more quickly and with less warping. Clear plastic-model glues, rubber cement, or glue sticks don’t work as well.
  5. When gluing, lightly glue the tabs only, not the receiving surface. Be careful not to use too much glue or the paper may warp or pucker.
  6. Let the model dry after gluing each piece before attempting the next. You may find that you want to space construction out over more than one day.
  7. To make the crispest edges, lightly score along the inside of fold lines before folding.
  8. Glue the roof on last.
  9. Enjoy Building Your Own Illinois historic building and check back again for additional buildings.