The state capital of Illinois, Springfield owes its prominence and position to its most famous citizen, beloved former American president Abraham Lincoln. The city started out as a little pioneer settlement in 1820, called Calhoun after a South Carolina senator of that name.
The senator fell out of favour and in 1832 the town was renamed Springfield, just before a young lawyer, Abraham Lincoln, decided to make the frontier town his home. No sooner had he settled in than Lincoln decided to up the town's status to state capital, a legislative effort that he seemed to accomplish without too much trouble. To this day, Springfield retains its status as state capital, despite the powerhouse of Chicago in northern Illinois.
The civil war brought some economic benefits to the town with new industries opening. Springfield also became an important link in the state railway system. Today the city has a thriving economy and tourist trade thanks to having been Lincoln's home town.
It is also well located midway between Chicago and St Louis on historic Route 66. The city has retained its small-town charm and is an interesting tourist destination, with a number of worthy museums and galleries.