Indiana May 06, 2016
by Paul Wonning , Guest Contributor 12 “Honest Abe” Reasons Why Everyone In Indiana Needs To Visit The Land Of Lincoln
Nestled in southern Indiana’s hills, The Land of Lincoln includes many historical places where Abraham Lincoln, the Sixteenth President of the United States, lived as a boy. Visitors can walk in Lincoln’s footsteps at Lincoln State Park and at the adjacent Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. Here visitors will find the Boyhood Memorial, the Lincoln Cabin Site Memorial, Nancy Hanks’ Grave, and other Lincoln historical treasures.
Nearby Holiday World and Santa Claus, Indiana are popular attractions that cater to families. St. Meinrad Archabbey is a beautiful spot to visit and tour while driving along the nearby Ohio River Scenic Byway.
These 12 places should be on everyone’s list to see when they visit the Land of Lincoln in Indiana.
1. Lincoln Cabin Site Memorial
In 1933, workers excavated the sill logs and hearthstones of Thomas Lincoln's cabin, where Abraham grew up. They also erected the stone wall that now surrounds the Cabin Memorial. Later on, workers placed the bronze fireplace and log castings that mark the site. Visitors can see the original stones from the hearth on display in the museum.
2. Nancy Hanks Lincoln's Grave
Several graves mark the forest floor of the Pioneer Cemetery at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. The most prominent is a modest white stone marker; this is the grave of Nancy Hanks Lincoln, mother of Abraham Lincoln.
3. Pioneer Homestead
Near the National Memorial, visitors will find a Pioneer Farmstead. It depicts life at the time the Thomas Lincoln and his family lived here. During the summer months, actors staff this farm - they grow crops, tend livestock, and perform household chores the same way the Lincolns and their neighbors did a century and a half ago.
4. Trail of Twelve Stones
© Paul Wonning
The Indiana Lincoln Union began planning a trail here in 1933. Its purpose was to memorialize the important points in Abraham Lincoln's life. It is in an excellent place - near the farm where he grew up and the grave of his mother, who influenced his life so much. They began collecting stones and placing them on this trail. This half-mile trail is the result of their work. They appear in chronological order.
5. Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial exhibits memorabilia about the Sixteenth President. Abraham Lincoln grew up walking this ground.
6. Lincoln Plaza
Dedicated on June 12, 2009, the Lincoln Plaza celebrates Abraham Lincoln's birth and life. Located just inside Lincoln State Park is a simple memorial with a circular limestone column surrounded by stone pillars. A timeline of Lincoln's life circles the memorial and various markers quote his wise words.
7. Lincoln Amphitheatre
The Lincoln Club of Southern Indiana organized The Lincoln Boyhood Drama Association in 1977. By 1987, the organization had collected enough money to construct this amphitheatre. Production of Billy Edd Wheeler’s "Young Abe Lincoln" ran until 2005. There were no productions from 2005 until 2008, when it reopened, running "Lincoln: Upon the Altar of Freedom" for two years. Today "Young Abe Lincoln" plays again, along with other productions. It collaborates with the Evansville Civic Theatre for many of its productions.
8. Lincoln State Park
Lincoln State Park provides visitors with a place to walk in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln. You can also enjoy a play, hike trails, or enjoy lake activities on Lincoln Lake. The park is 2026 acres in size, heavily wooded, and a beautiful place to spend a vacation.
9. Santa Claus, Indiana
This small town was originally founded as "Santa Fe," but when the United States Postal Service rejected the name for this post office (as there already was a registered Santa Fe post office), the town renamed itself. After many meetings, the populace settled on the name Santa Claus, Indiana. The post office thus established is the only post office in the world with the name Santa Claus. Each year the post office in Santa Claus receives thousands of letters addressed to Santa Claus. Since 1914, a group of volunteers called Santa’s Elves makes sure that each child receives an answer from Santa.
10. Holiday World
Holiday World is a121-acre amusement park that opens in late April and remains open until late October.
11. St. Meinrad Archabbey
This church is a beautiful structure with wonderful stained glass windows and a majestic altar. Construction of the church ended in 1907. This hundred-year-old structure contains a 3,800-pipe organ as well as well as three shrines. Inside, pause to consider the beauty of the building. Interested visitors can schedule a guided tour, or tour on your own.
12. Grand Ohio River Views
Visitors can view fabulous vistas of the Ohio River from Grand View and other places along the Ohio River Scenic Byway, which passes near Lincoln State Park and Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial.
The Land of Lincoln is a must-visit spot for anyone wishing to learn about Indiana’s rich history.
Paul Wonning, author and photographer of this piece, is a walking treasure trove of historical knowledge about the Hoosier State. To see more of his work, check out his website, Indiana Places & History.
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