Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lincoln’s Log Cabin, Homes and Tomb

Abraham Lincoln’s entire life - from birth to death – has been commemorated in both historical sites and souvenir replicas. Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in rural Kentucky. Young Lincoln received little formal schooling and was largely self-taught. The family moved to Indiana and later to Illinois. Souvenirs of Abe’s log cabin birthplace in Hodgenville, Ky. range from copper colored pot metal versions to cast iron - which looks older, but is a coin bank from the 1980’s. For a while as a young adult, ‘Honest Abe’ lived in the pioneer village of New Salem, Illinois and during the 60’s visitors could purchase salt & pepper shakers which were made in Japan. The Lincoln Home National Historic Site preserves the Springfield, Illinois home Abraham Lincoln lived in from 1844 to 1861, before becoming the 16th President of the United States. The presidential memorial includes a four-block historic district surrounding the home and a visitor center. A metal replica of Lincoln's home in Springfield is from the 1960's and stands 2.5 inches tall. A somewhat lesser know location is The Wills House in downtown Gettysburg, Pa. When David Wills invited President Abraham Lincoln to stay in his home before the dedication of the Gettysburg military cemetery, he hardly suspected that America's most famous speech would be completed in his guest bedroom. In a second-floor bedroom, President Abraham Lincoln put the finishing touches on the Gettysburg Address - the speech which transformed Gettysburg from a place of sorrow to the symbol of our nation's new birth of freedom. Wills, a prosperous 32-year-old attorney, owned the largest house on the town square. Under his direction, Pennsylvania purchased 17 acres for a cemetery to honor the dead from that summer's battle. He arranged for the cemetery dedication on November 19, 1863, with Edward Everett as the main speaker. President Lincoln was invited to offer "a few appropriate remarks." On the edge of town, a crowd of more than 10,000 would hear Lincoln's brief masterpiece, now considered the product of an entire lifetime. The David Wills house, built in 1816, is now a museum which will reopen after recent renovations. InFocusTech makes a pewter-colored replica, which is also a coin bank, of the Wills House which stands 3.25 inches tall. Finally, souvenir replicas of Lincoln’s Tomb have been produced in a few different sizes and most are copper-colored pot metal. Lincoln's Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, is his final resting place along with his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln and three of their four sons. Built in1874 and designed by Larkin G. Meade, Jr., the tomb was almost the site of a crime. In 1876, two Chicago criminals failed in their attempt to steal Lincoln's body and hold it for ransom. As a result, the National Lincoln Monument Association hid his body in another part of the memorial. When Mrs. Lincoln died in 1882, her remains were placed with those of the president and then in 1887 both bodies were reburied in a brick vault beneath the floor of the burial room to protect them.Other Lincoln-related souvenirs include a set of salt and pepper shakers which are busts of Lincoln.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails