A new surveillance system will help protect Abraham Lincoln's Tomb in Springfield from vandalism and theft, officials said.
And not just of artifacts.
But of Lincoln’s body itself.
“The tomb, going back much farther, has a history of people trying to steal Abraham Lincoln’s body. We don’t expect that to be a problem. That’s not why the security is being installed,” said Chris Wills, a spokesman for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. “But it is interesting that even 150 years ago, security at the tomb was an issue.”
Two companies — A-1 Corporate Hardware in Springfield and the Swedish-based Axis Communication — are donating the system.
Justin Blandford, superintendent of Springfield historic sites for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, said the donated system is superior to what the agency could have purchased and "we're extremely thankful."
Five cameras will cover the 16th president's tomb, as well as the parking lot at Oak Ridge Cemetery.
Wills said the system will connect to the internet to help monitor what is happening at the tomb.
“They are making this great system available to us so that we can have a really top-notch security at really one of the nation’s most important historic sites,” Wills said.
Security at the tomb has been an issue in the recent past.
In 2011, a teenager stole a copper sword that was part of a statue on the tomb's upper terrace.
“We’re trying to prevent some of that occasional vandalism,” Wills said. “It’s in the process of being installed right now. Visitors will not see anything different. There is nothing that will change the visitor’s experience or inhibit it in any way.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Michael Puente is WBEZ’s Northwest Indiana reporter. Follow him on Twitter at @MikePuenteNews.