This 200-acre memorial preserves the farm site where Abraham Lincoln lived with his family from 1816 to 1830. During that time, he matured from a seven-year-old boy to a 21-year-old man. His mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, died in October 1818 of milk sickness when Abraham was nine and was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery, which is on the property. His sister, Sarah Lincoln Grigsby, died during childbirth in 1826 and was buried in the nearby Little Pigeon Baptist Church cemetery, across the street in Lincoln State Park.
The centerpiece of the memorial is a one-story limestone museum building which features five bas-relief sculpture panels portraying different phases of Lincoln’s life on the exterior of the building. Inside, there’s a small theater featuring a 16-minute film about Lincoln’s life in Indiana narrated by Leonard Nimoy. The museum also includes several exhibits and artifacts relating to Lincoln’s life, which are located in an adjoining hall.
From the museum, it’s about a 15-minute walk past the flagpole and through the woods past the pioneer cemetery to the actual Lincoln farmstead site. Believe it or not, the foundation logs of the original cabin have been bronzed. Not far from the actual cabin site is the Lincoln Living Historical Farm, which features a cabin and small farm similar to what the Lincoln’s would have been like. Guess on the day in early May when we visited the reenactors in period clothing weren’t working yet, because we never saw any.
We took a different way back to the visitor’s center; what they call the Trail of 12 Stones. This is another trail through the woods, but along the way, they’ve placed stones from a dozen important places in Lincoln’ life. These include the place he was born in Kentucky, the house across from Ford’s Theater where he died, stones from the foundation of the White House, and more. There are explanations for each, and they’re interesting, and must have taken a lot of effort to put together back in the 1930s.
The grounds where pleasant, and this was a nice natural place for a spring walk. I think the importance of this place today is the opportunity to learn more about where Lincoln came from and what influenced him. Some of those influences that came into play in this place include: his axe, hard work, exposure to the slave trade, reading, and getting to know some lawyers.
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