May 12, 2012. After I left Mammoth Cave National Park the weather was threatening a bit, but it was still early enough to visit another site. I realized the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln was very near my route back to my hotel.
In 1969 I visited Ford’s Theatre where Lincoln was shot then visited the Petersen boarding house where Lincoln died. The Petersen boarding house is immediately across 10th Street from Ford’s theatre in Washington, DC. Ford’s Theatre address is 511 10th Street, the Petersen Boarding house, now also known as The House Where Lincoln Died is at 516. Both are operated as part of the National Park Service.
The original furnishings of the boarding house were sold at auction when the Petersen’s died in 1869, and the deathbed eventually wound up at the Chicago History Museum. The room Lincoln died in has been restored and the bed there has been made to be a copy of the original.
If I have my facts right once the body was removed the Petersen’s replaced the bloody linen then continued to rent out the room with the deathbed serving its duty to any boarders assigned to the room for the night.
Following the map I reached Hodgenville, KY. after I had reentered the Eastern Time Zone and lost the fake hour I had gained described in my last post. Hodgenville is no longer in the wilderness nor on the western frontier as it was over 200 years ago. It is now a small town of almost 3,000. A little over a mile from the birthplace is a McDonalds.
This is entry the sign to the park. I still had the camera on ISO 6400, but changed it back to 640 after this shot.
Admission is free. The grounds hold the visitor’s center, walking trails, a picnic area, and a few modern log cabins built in the style of what may have been seen in Kentucky 200+ years ago, and of course the birthplace memorial. The entire park covers about 117 acres. The original Lincoln farm here had about 300 acres.
The visitor center has some displays, & a theater. It also has a gift shop selling a few serious books on the Civil War, one or two on Kentucky in the early 19th century, and what I can only call Lincoln related trash & trinkets.
Here are a couple of displays in the visitor’s center. The 2nd one is a recreation of an interior of a frontier cabin and is shot with the fish eye.
Not far from the visitor’s center is the memorial & birthplace. A private trust originally developed the memorial. It is built in a neoclassical style and fully protects the cabin inside. The cabin is an old rough-hewn wooden structure contemporary to the area and from the very early 19th century. It was originally thought to be the actual birth cabin.
The memorial sits on the hill Lincoln was born on, although one employee allowed that maybe it was not on the exact site, but close in any event. 56 steps lead up to the memorial, one for each year in Lincoln’s life.
Here are photos of the memorial in color & black & white.
The inscription reads:
OVER THE LOG CABIN WHERE ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS BORN
DESTINED TO PRESERVE THE UNION AND FREE THE SLAVE
A GRATEFUL PEOPLE HAVE DEDICATED THIS MEMORIAL
TO UNITY PEACE AND BROTHERHOOD AMONG THESE STATES
I think the Unity line is particularly poignant considering some people still think they are fighting the Civil War.
The second inscription reads:
WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE WITH CHARITY FOR ALL
Finally, this is the cabin inside the memorial.
I hope for more photos next week. There is a Kentucky train museum not far from the Lincoln Birthplace that sounds interesting.