Constructed between 1909 and 1911, the Memorial Building at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park is sitting where historians believe the Lincoln cabin originally stood. The Lincoln Farm Association built the memorial to celebrate the life and accomplishments of our sixteenth president. On February 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln entered the world in a single room log cabin on Sinking Spring Farm in Kentucky.
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As his character continued to develop, his childhood helped him to grow into the man who led the nation through the uncertain times of Civil War.
His mother died when he was only nine, and his older sister died when he was nineteen. At a young age, he witnessed his first slave auction in New Orleans. He held a variety of jobs including the partner of a general store, a captain in the Illinois militia, and postmaster.
Before he became president, he entered into politics with a seat in the state legislature and was an attorney in his own law practice.
The day Abe Lincoln set off on his journey to become America's 16th president, he gave a brief speech on the platform of the rear train car to over a thousand people who were there to support him. That day, he left his home, Springfield, Illinois, for which he spent 25 years of his life, to then become the leader that brought the nation together and ended slavery.
In 1906, fundraising began for the project, and nearly $350,000 was donated from over 100,000 people. On the centennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, the laying of the first cornerstone by President Theodore Roosevelt signified the beginning of construction.
The site was donated to the federal government and became a national park in 1916. The Boyhood Home Unit at Knob Creek remained in the family until it was donated in 2001.
Many of Lincoln’s things are on display and available for viewing. The original Bible of the Lincoln family resides here. Guests can learn about pioneer life, the tools people used, what they cooked their food with, and how they built furniture. The Lincoln Overview is an exhibit where patrons are welcome to explore Lincoln's birthplace, boyhood home, and his family history, all set at Knob Creek.
One of the most prominent features of the park, until it was cut down, was the Boundary Oak. Upon its death in 1976, it was the last living link to Abraham Lincoln. It represented the boundary of the farm in an 1805 survey. At Lincoln’s birth, the tree was already thirty years old.
While it’s not the original cabin belonging to the Lincoln’s, the log cabin at Knob Creek is open for tours daily. One of Abraham Lincoln’s earliest memories is of his near drowning experience in which a neighbor boy saved him. This cabin is believed to have belonged to these close neighbors. A 20th-century tavern and tourist site also stand at Knob Creek.
The National Park Service provides many educational opportunities for students at Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace. Teachers have access to curriculum-based lesson plans and can use these plans for pre-visit, post-visit, or extended learning options. These plans include learnings in history, math, science, and social studies.
Frontier life in Kentucky shaped Abraham Lincoln’s character, and the challenges prepared him for the trials of the Civil War. His life comes together here, and students have the opportunity to engage in learning about his childhood, his presidency, and his death.
The bookstore offers books, gifts, and educational materials. These materials provide quality educational and interpretive products to everyone visiting the memorial. Included in the bookstore are items regarding Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and all of America’s presidents. Children’s books are also available.
There are several additional things to do when planning a visit to the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace. The closest is the Lincoln Statue in downtown Hodgenville. Standing six feet tall, this commemorative bronze statue features the president sitting in an Empire style chair on a marble foundation. The Lincoln Museum is located here as well.
Lincoln Heritage Trail and House
The Lincoln Heritage Trail is located in central Kentucky and explores the historic sites, people, places and events that shaped Lincoln’s legacy.
The Lincoln Heritage House was ravaged by fire in 2009 and is still closed, however much of it was salvaged, and it is in the process of a rebuild. The beautiful scenery and the opportunity to enjoy the outside of the cabin is still available, and it will reopen for tours soon. Visitors are encouraged to stay a while and take as many pictures as they’d like.
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park, 2995 Lincoln Farm Road, Hodgenville, Kentucky 42748, Phone: 270-358-3137