Road trips, Stories told

A visit to Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace

My sons and I are just back from our biennial spring break trip. In 2007, we did an Indiana history tour, visiting historic sites all over the state. In 2009, we visited Washington, DC, and then followed the old National Road home – part of the road, anyway, as I wrecked the car in Ohio. Both trips were whirlwind tours, packed from end to end. This year we simply wanted to relax, so I rented us a cabin in the woods in Tennessee.

But I couldn’t resist picking up a thread that has run through all of our spring break trips to date. In 2007, we stopped to see Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana boyhood home. In 2009, our DC tour included the Lincoln Memorial. So when I saw that our route to Tennessee would pass within spitting distance of Lincoln’s birthplace in Kentucky, of course we had to stop.

This memorial building stands about where the Lincolns built their cabin. Theodore Roosevelt spoke when the cornerstone was laid; it was 12 February 1909, when Lincoln would have turned 100. William Howard Taft dedicated the building after it was completed in 1911. 56 steps lead to the memorial building, one for each year of Lincoln’s life.

Abraham Lincoln's birthplace

My favorite detail on the memorial building is these great lions’ heads that guard its massive doors, two in the front and two in the rear.

Abraham Lincoln's birthplace

A cabin stands inside. The Lincolns’ cabin is long gone, of course. This reproduction is thought to be similar to the original cabin.

Abraham Lincoln's birthplace

Peering through the door, the stone fireplace glows.

Abraham Lincoln's birthplace

16 flowers line the ceiling, 16 windows admit light, and 16 posts hold the chain surrounding the cabin, in case you forgot that Lincoln was the 16th President.

Abraham Lincoln's birthplace

Lincoln also lived in Illinois, of course. A memorial stands on the site where his family entered from Indiana. Check it out.

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10 thoughts on “A visit to Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace

  1. We visited this spot when our son when was nine years old. It was a dark, rainy day and the only source of light inside came from the windows. It reminded me of my great grandmother’s family mausoleum(sans fake log cabin, and 1/10th the size). Your pictures show the interesting details we missed, and make the place look a lot brighter.

    You didn’t find it kind of weird and spooky?

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    • Not creepy at all. Now that you mention that it’s like a mausoleum, I see what you mean, but it wasn’t my first impression. The grounds are lovely and make a positive first impression that perhaps takes the edge off.

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  2. PQ says:

    Beautiful pictures, was the cabin you and your boys stayed at in the ame place you stayed while you were still married. If memory serves you had wanted to take them there because you had enjolyed it so much.

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  3. versakay says:

    I always liked Abe. Tall and lanky, he looked very stately, especially with that royal beard of him. When i was young i had read of stories of his childhood in the log cabin.Another story i remember is about the two goats that Tad Lincoln had as his pets in the Whitehouse. I used to have a very brown old fascimile of tThe Gettysburg Address with me, i do have it any more, don’t remember what happened to it over the years. I have seen the places hallowed by his assassination. While I was at the The Lincoln Memorial for the first time a friend of mine mentioned about some spooky happenings, which I brushed aside. I took alot of photographs with my aim and shoot color camera, but it was much later after i left that place that I realised that the lenscap was on, when I clicked the pics.

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    • I read Carl Sandburg’s biographies of Lincoln many years ago and enjoyed them immensely. I recommend them! The Lincoln Memorial is just wonderful, isn’t it? Too bad that your lens cap ruined your photos!

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