Springfield, Illinois is a Midwestern city filled with historic houses. Being the hometown of the Abraham Lincoln family puts it squarely on the map of vacationers and history buffs alike. While some of the homes are available for tours, others can only be viewed from the outside. We found one that crossed the tourism-only line to become a local business with a twist. Sitting a block off of the original Route 66, we stopped in for a historic break at Wm. Van’s Coffee House

We want to thank Visit Springfield and Wm. Van’s Coffee House for their hospitality. Rest assured all opinions are our own. 

A historic break at Wm. Van's Coffee House offers a peek inside this house from the times of Abraham Lincoln.

Keeping It Together

Let’s go back over 150 years to the humble beginnings of this historic home. Using some startup capital, borrowed from Abraham Lincoln, Isaac Lindsey built this beautiful two-story home. It passed to the Maisenbacher family, where it remained for many generations. Eventually, it fell into disrepair after years of sitting empty. When it was purchased for the land rights, in 2008, plans were made for demolition. The Conn family saw the value in preserving this structure and worked with the land owner to develop a plan to move the home. This move wasn’t without its difficulties, but ended successfully. These days, Wm. Van’s is appropriately located between the Illinois capital and the Lincoln home.

Locals enjoy some leisure time before beginning a workday.

Leisurely Start

When we were in the planning phase for our Springfield visit, this place popped onto our radar. What caught our attention was it being noted as a coffee house. Usually we see places noted as coffee shops or coffee cafes, so we were intrigued by the title. On closer inspection, it became apparent that the name fit perfectly. We enjoyed our stroll from the hotel to the house, which led us down the historic Route 66 path that is 6th Street. Jumping a block over to 7th landed us at the front step of our destination. A stream of customers told us we were in the right location. Inside, we found plenty of seating options that occupy the first floor. It was clear that this place is popular with the locals, so we knew we were in for a treat.

Staff works quickly to serve the steady stream of customers.

Local Hot Spot

As we started our historic break at Wm. Van’s Coffee House, we were greeted by a delectable aroma of brewing coffee and baked goods. We followed our noses into the area where food and beverages are served. The drink options include hot and cold versions of the standard caffeine choices. They also have a few others like; Italian sodas, smoothies, and some milks and juices for the younger customers. The food options are limited, but include some good protein choices that we knew would fuel our morning explorations. 

Delectable dishes are part of a historic break at Wm. Van's Coffee House in Springfield, Illinois.

Healthy Start

Since we had already enjoyed some brewed coffee on our walk over, we were ready to sit down with some flavored drinks. There is something luxurious about sipping a macchiato or cappuccino, while enjoying some people watching. Our food and drink order came up quickly, and we plopped down in the main room to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. I had ordered the Breakfast BLT, which includes egg, bacon, tomato, spring mix, and some of their pesto mayo. The flavor combination was delicious with the spring mix and pesto adding some depth to the sandwich. Crystal went simple with the Avocado Toast. The addition of tomato slices added a pop of color to her dish. We ended up splitting our dishes with each other, which allowed for a little more variety in our meal.

Crystal waits patiently for photos to be taken of our meal.

Pretty Patience

What started as a reoccurring practice has turn into a tradition. Each dining option we visit now includes a photo of Crystal patiently waiting to eat. Even a historic break at Wm. Van’s Coffee House required her to get cheesy for a picture. Sometimes I wonder if her patience will grow thin, since I will often want to do multiple takes. Fortunately, she has become accustomed to this ritual. There are times that we will be joined by staff from the local visitors bureau, and Crystal will be the one who informs them of the need for pictures, before digging in. It shows just how well we work in tandem to try to get the whole story for our readers. Bon Appetit! 

the authors signatures.

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