Lincoln Park on the north side of Springfield is an 88-acre site added to the park district in 1905. This is one of the historic parks, developoed as termini of the urban trolley line in use at the time. Its design and many features date back to its original development. This park is bounded by black Avenue on the south, 5th Street on the east, Sangamon Avenue on the north, 1st Street then Oak Ridge and Calvary cemeteries on the west. Surrounding the park are established residential neighborhoods as well as the State Fairgrounds to the northeast and Springfield College and Ursuline Academy High School to the southeast.
The site has relatively flat, open areas on the north and rolling, forested land on the west and south. It has a variety of passive and active recreational facilities. It is one of the heaviest used parks in the district.
Vehicular access is provided from each of the surrounding streets into the park, and internal loops provide access to several parking areas and recreational facilities. Pedestrians share the roadway and also use sidewalks within the park. Flower beds and a fountain enhance the northeast frontage of the park. A street-tree arboretum is nearby.
Lincoln Park contains the greatest variety of sports-oriented facilities of any park in the district. The roadway network, trails and open space are used for walking, running, bicycling, training, and school district cross-country meets. The northern half of the park contains a soccer field, 6 ball diamonds with one lighted, 3 tennis courts, 3 shuffleboard courts and 21 horseshoe courts. Also in this area, the Nelson Recreation Center contains an outdoor swimming pool, 2 indoor ice rinks, rooms for special events, a concession area and restrooms. South of the building is a small bandstand, a picnic area with shelters and a large playground.
In the southern half of the park, the historic stone pavilion is sited prominently on a hillside. A small playground is nearby. The historic stone bridge to the south spans a lagoon, creating a delightful location for pedestrian meandering, photography, etc. A disc golf course surrounds the lagoon and extends to the open meadow on the south. A second disc golf course is located on the North section of the park as well.
Having been named Oak Ridge Park and owned by the Springfield City Railroad Company it was sold to the newly formed Springfield Pleasure Driveway and Park District. It was first named North park but later changed to Lincoln Park with the adjacent cemetery housing Lincolns final resting place. In 1905 Lincoln Park was dubbed the prettiest drive in central Illinois. It was named after Present Abraham Lincoln who was from Springfield and the 16th president of the United States.
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