President Abraham Lincoln's receiving vault restored


February 2014 to May 2015



Time had not been kind to the receiving vault that once held the bodies of President Abraham Lincoln and his 11-year-old son, Willie, who died at the White House. The remains of Lincoln and his son were placed in the vault at the base of a hill in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield on May 4, 1865, following the Springfield funeral for the assassinated president. The pair and another son, Eddie, were moved on Dec. 21, 1865, to a temporary tomb, which is now the site of the Lincoln Tomb.

Water often penetrated the vault's flat roof, crumbling the bricks and masonry walls. Our team served as the lead structural engineer for restoration and worked with RATIO, the lead historic architecture firm on the project. The timeline was moved up five months to ensure construction would be done in May 2015 for the two-day ceremony commemorating the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's death.

Fehr Graham planned and designed drainage, waterproofing and exterior restoration of the vault. We also administered the work performed by the contractor who took our designs and installed drains to channel water from the vault and excavated to let crews repair the walls without compromising the historic nature of the site. We completed the project on time and on budget, and the historic attraction is open to the public.

» Completed planning, design and construction administration.
» Completed excavation around vault.
» Stabilized and reconstructed vault.
» Made waterproofing and subsurface drainage improvements.
» Restored landscape.