On December 11, 1816, President James Madison signed a congressional resolution making Indiana the nation’s 19th state. And although the state has been celebrating all year, this past Sunday, December 11, officially marked Indiana’s 200th birthday! At 200 years young, we want to say cheers to many more! We threw a pretty big bash back in September for the Indiana Bicentennial Celebration, check out some of the footage below.
Moreover, we have double the reason to celebrate here in Spencer County, Indiana. This month also marks 200 years since Abraham Lincoln and his family moved to this area. In the cold, harsh winter of December 1816, Lincoln’s father moved his family to Indiana where they resided for 14 years and where young Abe grew from a boy to a young man. He used his hands and his back to help carve a farm and home out of the frontier forests.
Abraham Lincoln described his years in Indiana in the following words, “We reached our new home about the time the State came into the Union. It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods. There I grew up. There were some schools, so called; but no qualification was ever required of a teacher, beyond readin’, writin’, and cipherin’ to the Rule of Three.”
Lincoln’s Indiana years were difficult, marked with personal tragedies, such his mother’s death in 1818, his sister’s death ten years later, and – in his own words – could be summed up as the “short and simple annals of the poor.” But he overcame the economic and educational disadvantages and went on to become one of America’s greatest presidents.
The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial preserves the site of the farm where Abraham Lincoln lived during his adolescence and the traditional gravesite of his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln. An impressive memorial building commemorates Lincoln’s Indiana years, and a recreated farm invites visitors to take a step back in time to experience pioneer life firsthand.
The Living Historical Farm consists of a log cabin and outbuildings, garden, orchard, cultivated fields, and livestock. During the spring and summer months, the staff of the farm dresses in period clothing to demonstrate daily activities at the farm from 200 years ago. Also located on the farm is the Lincoln Cabin Site Memorial that the State of Indiana and the Indiana Lincoln Union erected on the traditional site of the Lincoln cabin.
In the 1930s, Indiana also developed the adjacent Lincoln State Park as a recreation and scenic area. This park is home to ten miles of hiking trails, rolling forested hills, two lakes, and Lincoln Amphitheatre – one of the most picturesque, outdoor venues in Indiana. Young Abe Lincoln spent part of his youth in the 1,747-acre park, which was established as a memorial to his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln.
If Lincoln history is something you find interesting, it’s a must to add the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and Lincoln State Park to your bucket list. Additionally, you’ll find even more Lincoln history, 14 Lincoln-era replica cabins, and Civil War-era artifacts at the Lincoln Pioneer Village & Museum, located in the city of Rockport about 20 minutes away.
Make sure to browse our website for more information, check out the other local Lincoln sites and attractions, and start planning your trip here.