Before he became the Great Emancipator and the president who led the United States through the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was a farm boy in Middle America. The National Park Service can help Lincoln lovers trace the roots of the 16th U.S. president at its three sites relating to his formative years in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.
At the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Hodgenville, Kentucky, travelers can see the place where the future statesman was born and spent the first seven years of his life. The site includes a symbolic one-room log cabin like the one where Abe was born in 1809. The visitor center offers an orientation film, and other activities include walking up the 56 steps to the Memorial Building and seeing the Lincolns’ home at Knob Creek.
The family moved to southern Indiana in 1816, and that period of young Abe’s life is covered at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City, Indiana. During a visit to the memorial, travelers can watch period re-enactors at work on the Living Historical Farm (ca. 1820); go to Pioneer Cemetery to see the gravesite of family matriarch, Nancy Hanks Lincoln; and hike along one of the four trails.
The next phase of the future president’s life took him to Illinois, where he made his home in Springfield while he launched his law practice and political career. The Lincoln Home National Historic Site offers tours of the 12-room Greek Revival house that was Abe and Mary’s residence for 17 years. Visitors also can explore the four-block area around the house that includes a dozen historical buildings from Lincoln’s time.
Top photo: The Lincoln family home at Knob Creek, part of the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Hodgenville, Kentucky
Photo by National Park Service