The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial is historically significant for its association with the early life of Abraham Lincoln and as the final resting place of Nancy Hanks Lincoln. Furthermore, the property retains a high level of integrity with regard to its historic landscape design, and the Memorial Building is an important contributing element to the property's architectural significance. Finally, the property is significant for its association with the development of historic preservation theory over the course of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It began as a shrine to Nancy Hanks Lincoln and, by extension, the cult of motherhood that characterized the Victorian era. During the 1930s, the memorial was transformed to commemorate Lincoln and his lifetime of accomplishments. Thirty years later, the site's programs were expanded to include a parallel interpretive theme with the construction of the Living History Farm. The influences of each interpretive theme are clearly visible upon the extant cultural landscape and contribute to our understanding of the constantly evolving cultural and social phenomena of memorializing important personages in American history.
The memorial's current overall appearance (Figures 25 and 26) has seen few major changes since completion of the addition to the Memorial Building in the mid-1960s. In 1986, the iron gate that once marked the entrance to the park was removed from storage and placed at the east end of the plaza. The most recent alterations have included the replanting of the beds around the allee and removal of an isolated section of State Highway 162 in 1993. This removal included replanting the former east arm of the original cross-axial design with native trees. Several picnic tables were added to the space as well.  As a part of the current Historic Resource Study, a comprehensive cultural base map was prepared to identify all of the cultural resources within the memorial property and their relationship to one another (Figure 27). This was accomplished by using the scaled site plan created by McEnaney and overlaying it upon a topographic map that shows the contours of the landscape. A few additional elements beyond those listed by McEnaney also were identified. The dates and architects or landscape architects who were responsible for major features of the memorial are included on the map as well.
Last Updated: 19-Jan-2003