A walk with the Lincoln’s

      In 1816, much of Indiana was still full of trees, plants, and wild animals. Miles upon miles, all that you can see is the vast floating sea of green. But soon more families traveled to Indiana, with a promise of a better life and land to call their own. That is what the Lincoln family did more than 200 years ago, like many other families did too. And for 14 years, Abraham Lincoln lived his childhood and teen years here in Indiana until the moment they moved to Illinois. But for years the place that Lincoln called home as a child was slowly being forgotten. Thus, slowly erasing his family’s influence on the State of Indiana. In the years after he was assassinated, there was an interest in learning about the life of the 16th president of the United States. Where he was born, grew up, started his political journey, and eventually became the president that we all know today. In 1900, the State of Indiana and many interest groups began to do just that.

  Around 115 miles away from the birthplace of Lincoln, lies Spencer County. A southern county that borders the Ohio River. The same river that the Lincoln family crossed when they moved to Indiana. From that river, the Lincolns moved up north for 20 miles to what is now known as Lincoln City. And as time went on in that same county, the people there wanted to memorize the life of the Lincolns. More importantly, the life of Nancy Lincoln, mother of Abraham Lincoln. And for years the grave of Nancy Lincoln lay where they once lived, with people coming over to visit. Eventually, the State of Indiana wanted to do more with this land and thus in the 1940s expanded it even more. Where they wanted to build a memorial building for Nancy and Abraham, along with a log cabin like what they lived in back then. Thus, creating the Nancy Hanks Lincoln Memorial, with a memorial building, cemetery, and a living historical farm for many years. Up until 1962, when the National Park Service took over the park and officially named it the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial.

  Here there are a lot of things that there is to see. At the entrance, we can see the beautiful Memorial Center Building. With the two halls for Nancy and Abraham, along with an exhibit of Lincoln’s life. The Abraham Lincoln Hall is set as a meeting hall that would’ve been seen in the early 1800s. When entering, you certainly can feel that and can easily imagine the things that would happen in a building like this. Weddings, town hall meetings, and church meetings. All of these and more would happen in a chapel. A room where the community can meet. As compared to the other end, where we get the Nancy Hank Lincoln Hall. A room was originally set as a lounging area with offices for administration. Having no clear reference to a specific location or building in Abraham Lincoln’s life. It holds a sense of comfort when you enter. With a beautiful wool rug holding the locations of a table set to what it would’ve been in the past. Next to a huge fireplace that holds a lovely painting above it. Bring a symbol of light for the Lincoln’s crossing of the Ohio River in that painting. 

Both halls are held in the current visitor center, but back in the 1940s, it all once used to be a cloister to connect the two halls. But this cloister and the exterior of the halls hold the true beauty of the building, from hall to hall all you see is the beauty of white Indiana Limestone. Five different panels show the moments in the life of Abraham Lincoln. From left to right, we see his life in Kentucky, Indiana, Afterlife, Illinois, and Washington D.C. Made by E.H. Daniels, these sculptured panels from Limestone and done by hand are a true beauty. As they say, a picture tells a thousand words. But a sculptured panel can tell a whole life.   

But the Memorial Visitor Center isn’t the only place to look at. Because if you walk up the alley to the flagpole, pass the Pioneer Cemetery where Nancy Lincoln lies, walk down a hill, and then pass a field. You’ll end up at the living historical farm. There you can live a pioneer life, just like the Lincolns in the 1820s. Right as you step foot on the place, you can feel the sense of family and comfort even if it’s out in the wild. A crop and herb garden along with some cows, sheep, chickens, and horses. All these together with a replication of a log cabin that the Lincolns would’ve lived in. It all creates a lovely ambiance that makes you feel at home. It makes you understand why the Lincolns would stop and live here in Indiana for 14 years. It’s just unfortunate that during those years in Indiana, it was a dark and sad time for them. A land of a home filled with unforeseen deaths of close ones. It really makes you wonder about what your life would be like if you were traveling and living the pioneer life.

  As mentioned, there are lots of paths to take and where you can go ahead on a hike. Altogether, it’s almost 2.5 miles long but these paths really do take you back. Even if you’re not so much of a fan of history, it certainly is a place that is perfect to take in nature. Bountiful trees, that emit the sounds of nature that you don’t get in a city. Sometimes you might come across some animals, like birds, frogs, or even snakes. But don’t worry about the snakes, since they are harmless. Oh, but when it’s a hot sunny day, these trials are a great way to hide away from the sun. And if you’re lucky the wind will send a gentle breeze to cool you down. It’s worth it coming here just for the trails and super healthy too. One of my favorite paths is the Trail of Twelve Stones. About a mile-long trail that has twelve stones that are from locations that relate to Abraham Lincoln. Rocks from his birthplace, a piece of the White House, and a rock from Gettysburg. It teaches you about Abraham’s life and history, by bringing the history close to home.

  And while it has been more than 200 years since Abraham Lincoln and his family lived here. The spirit of him and his family can still be felt when you walk around. Step by step, you start to feel and almost see what Abraham saw all those years ago. Regardless, the efforts made by people in the past who wanted to persevere and cherish the life of the Lincolns are great. Without it, the park that you see today would not be standing. And those 14 years where Lincoln grew up and was influenced to become the man we know today. Would all be gone and be replaced with empty fields or vast woods. So, I can’t wait to learn more about the place and what I can contribute to this place. Hopefully one day, you might come on down and see the life that Lincoln had many years ago.

 

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