I’m sure it’s common to be fascinated with Abraham Lincoln. From where I live in central Indiana, it’s easy to indulge that fascination: Lincoln’s childhood and early adult life played out across southern Illinois, southern Indiana, and central Kentucky. Monuments to Lincoln abound, all reached within one tank of gas.
So I’ve visited Lincoln’s Indiana and Kentucky boyhood homes, the place where his family crossed into Illinois, where he legislated in Illinois, and — three times now — where he was born in Kentucky. This third time was while my sons and I were on Spring Break earlier this month. Mammoth Cave is just 40 miles southwest, so we swung by on our way home from there.
Two numbers figure prominently into the monument to Abe’s birthplace: 16, because he was the 16th President, and 56, because he was 56 when he was assassinated. When you visit, you experience 56 first: count the steps.
Inside, you’ll find 16 windows, 16 rosettes in the ceiling, and 16 poles through which the guard chain threads. There’s just one cabin, of course, though it’s not the one in which Lincoln was actually born. Nobody knows what became of it. But this one is representative.
My favorite detail on the monument building is the lions on the doors.
This property is known as Sinking Spring because of a recessed spring. These steps lead up from the spring.
Abraham Lincoln had no memories of this place. His family moved when he was 2, to a nearby farm that is also a national park. It was closed this day, or we would have visited it, too. The Lincolns stayed there just five years before moving to Indiana.
Check out photos from my previous visit to Lincoln’s birthplace here.