The Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial are located in Oak Ridge. The African-American History Museum of Springfield and Central Illinois is nearby.
A key feature of Oak ridge is the Oak Ridge Cemetery. It is a cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, United States. The Lincoln Tomb, which houses the burial of Abraham Lincoln, his wife, and all of their children except for one, is located here, as are the graves of other notable Illinois personalities. As a result, it is the United States’ second-most-visited cemetery, after Arlington National Cemetery. After the City Cemetery and Hutchinson, it was the third and now the only public cemetery in Springfield area in 1860.
The cemetery was designed in the Rural Cemetery Landscape Lawn style by William Saunders. The site was chosen because of its terrain, including rolling hills, essential to this design. A ridge bordering low-lying Spring Creek is covered in the eponymous oak trees, a landscape unique in central Illinois. After 1945, the newest southwest part opened. Its architecture is based on the Memorial Park style, which features ample avenues for cars.
Springfield officials bought seventeen acres north of the city in 1856, then another eleven and a half acres in 1857 to enlarge the cemetery. A city law prohibiting the construction or enlargement of burial cemeteries within the city limits was passed. Mayor John Cook came up with Oak Ridge’s name for the new cemetery.
On May 24, 1860, the city of Springfield dedicated the cemetery, with schools and businesses shutting down for the day. The occasion is claimed to have been attended by Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln.
Every year, about one million people visit the cemetery to pay their respects, primarily because of Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb. The Tomb, designed by artist Larkin Mead, stands 117 feet tall and is composed of brick with granite sheathing. In 1960, the Lincoln Tomb was recognized as a National Historic Landmark and listed in 1966 in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Lincoln Tomb’s construction began in 1868, and it was dedicated in 1874, with President Grant in attendance. Due to severe design and construction defects, the Tomb was primarily remodeled in 1900 through 1901 and 1930 through 1931. After robbers attempted to take President Abraham Lincoln’s body in 1876, the president’s remains were transferred to a level below the burial chamber’s floor after the initial refurbishment was completed.
Oak Ridge Cemetery has evolved to become Illinois’ largest municipal cemetery, with approximately 75,000 interments since 1865. Many of Lincoln’s contemporaries are buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery, so he isn’t the only significant figure. Over eighty dignitaries, including former governors and members of Congress, are housed in Oak Ridge.