Springfield Historic Sites - Old State Capitol
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Lincoln Colored Home

Lincoln Colored Home

427 South 12th Street
Springfield, IL

The Lincoln Colored Home is in a mixed residential and commercial neighborhood bordering on the east edge of the downtown area.  It is a two-story brick structure with wood interior floors and framing.  The roof is a low-pitched hipped structure.  The structure’s importance comes from the intimate connection of this building to the history and lives of African Americans in Springfield.  This building served orphan African American children and elderly women at a time when the existing social service facilities were not open to them.  Realizing the need for such a facility, Eva Carroll Monroe (1869-1950) worked to establish the home in 1904.  It was the first orphanage in the nation for African American children.  Mrs. Monroe’s early efforts to establish an orphanage caught the attention of Mrs. Mary Lawrence whose husband had been mayor of Springfield and whose daughter Susan Dana built what is now known as the Dana-Thomas House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  The Dana-Thomas House was built around the core of an older home and many of the doors, windows, some stained glass, and even chandeliers were incorporated into the Colored Home.  As such the home serves as testament to the results of cooperation between the races in the early part of the previous century.  Today the structure remains unoccupied and in disrepair, but efforts continue to restore and find a contemporary use for the building.