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.
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.
A cabin stands inside. The Lincolns’ cabin is long gone, of course. This reproduction is thought to be similar to the original cabin.
Peering through the door, the stone fireplace glows.
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.
Lincoln also lived in Illinois, of course. A memorial stands on the site where his family entered from Indiana. Check it out.