TwHP Lessons

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial:
Where Man and Memory Intersect


Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
(Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial)

My childhood home I see again,
And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There's pleasure in it too.
1

T


hus penned a thirty-five year-old Abraham Lincoln as he made a brief pilgrimage back to his boyhood home in 1844. Much had happened to him since his years growing up in Indiana. Now living in Illinois, Lincoln was a rising star in the state's Whig politics. He was on his way to fulfilling what he first wrote in 1832 that, “Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men.”2 That journey began in the Hoosier State, and his roots can be found in Southern Indiana at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. Those seeking to uncover the real Abraham Lincoln will find here both the man and the myth.

In addition to preserving the site of the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln where he lived for 14 years between the ages of 7-21, Lincoln Boyhood is significant because it represents that period within the history of the preservation movement when the creation of memorial edifices and landscapes was an important expression of the nation’s respect and reverence for Abraham Lincoln. The effort was spearheaded by the state of Indiana on behalf of all American citizens. Lincoln was, and is, a significant figure in our country’s history and this park preserves that most important formative period in his life.

1"Letter to Andrew Johnson," April 18, 1846, reprinted in Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 1 (Rutgers University Press, 1990), 378.
2 "Communication to the People of Sangamo County," March 9, 1832, reprinted in Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 1 (Rutgers University Press, 1990), 8.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
  1. Map 1: Indiana and surrounding area, 1816
  2. Map 2: Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial Site

Determining the Facts: Readings

  1. Reading 1: Honoring Lincoln in Death
  2. Reading 2: Honoring Nancy Hanks Lincoln
  3. Reading 3: Honoring Abraham Lincoln: The Man and the Myth
  4. Reading 4: Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial Becomes Indiana's First National Park

Visual Evidence: Images
  1. Nancy Hanks Lincoln Gravesite (c.1880s)
  2. Gravesite of Nancy Hanks Lincoln with Culver stone in place, (c.1905)
  3. Nancy Hanks Lincoln Gravesite Today
  4. View north from the gravesite, circa 1910s
  5. Lion Gates at the entrance of Nancy Hanks Lincoln Park, looking south into the park, 1920
  6. Indiana Memorial Panel as it looks today
  7. Lincoln Memorial Hall

Putting It All Together: Activities
  1. Designing a Memorial
  2. The Lincoln Portrait
  3. Local Memorial Study

Supplementary Resources

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Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial


This lesson is based on the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, one of the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

 

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