SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Efforts are under way to begin restoration work on the original arched entrance to the Springfield cemetery where Abraham Lincoln is buried.
Restoration will start this summer and should be finished by November, about six months before a re-enactment of Lincoln's funeral planned for next May. Lincoln's funeral procession ended at Oak Ridge Cemetery about 150 years ago.
The original cost was estimated at $450,000 but donated labor and services from about a dozen businesses have brought that figure down to between $50,000 and $100,000, officials said.
"The re-creation of the initial entrance that's so significant historically . that's been a real rallying point," Sue Massie, of the local firm Massie, Massie & Associates, told The State Journal-Register.
So far an old concrete wall has been cut back so a new reproduced archway can fit. Crews also are doing excavating work.
The new entrance is "meant to be there in perpetuity," Massie said. "It's great that it can be used in the 2015 event, but it's being done probably in larger part to have that element back in the cemetery as a feature."