Our stop at the Lincoln Boyhood Home National Memorial wasn’t planned today as we somehow had mapped this site to the wrong city (and to a few days down the road), but driving down scenic Rt. 62, we decided to stop and we’re glad we did.
Though honest Abe made a name for himself as lawyer, Senator, and US President from the state of Illinois, his formative years we spent in the state of Indiana. When Abraham was 7, his father Thomas moved the family from Northern Kentucky to a spot of land he marked a few weeks earlier as his homestead. In Indiana, he developed a passion for learning thanks to the insistence of his mother that he and his older sister Sarah learn to read and write. As we would learn, many of the stories we heard of Abe’s upbringing were written on the walls and foundation of this tiny farm.
On the site of the memorial, is a visitors center that offers a 15-minute video about Lincoln in Indiana, as well as shrines to his childhood and to his beloved mother – Nancy Hanks Lincoln.
Just up the hill from the visitors center, is a long grassy knoll focused on a tall silvery flagpole topped with the United States flag that vaguely resembles the National Mall in Washinton DC. Just over this hill is what is believed to be the final resting place of Lincoln’s ever-influential mother who died of milk sickness only two years after the family had moved to Indiana.
Continuing down the path, you come upon the working farm of Thomas Lincoln, the National Park System manages the property – raising corn, soy beans and livestock. Also featured is a smoke house and the elder Lincoln’s carpentry barn. Thomas Lincoln was well-known at the time for his cabinet making.
This park was founded in the 1930s when archeologists uncovered what is believed to be the framework of Lincoln’s boyhood home. The hearth rocks were reassembled and, along with the foundation logs, were bronzed for posterity.
If you’re a history fan or a Hoosier, this is a must-see.