National Park Service
"Men fell on their knees, groans were uttered at the sight, and many were dumb with amazement." -Wabash Plain Dealer, 1880
Eighteen years after Martin Van Buren's death The Wabash Plain Dealer detailed the reaction of the residents and witnesses who were present to watch Wabash, Indiana become the first town in the world to illuminate the night with electric lights. President Van Buren would have likely reacted the same way to lighting up the night as the residents of Wabash had electric lighting been available sooner. Van Buren was not as fortunate and had to adapt his activities and contend with his night time environment much differently than we do today. Beginning and continuing the first two Saturdays in October visitors to Martin Van Buren National Historic Site in Kinderhook will be able to get a sense of Lindenwald at night by signing up for a lantern tour.
In the evening twilight visitors will pick up lantern and cast their minds back to the mid 1800s. From amongst the shadows they will have a glimpse of Lindenwald, President Martin Van Buren's mansion, in the dimming twilight beginning and last approximately an hour-and-a-half. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 518-758-9689.. The tours will begin at
Guests will see Lindenwald in a whole new light by taking a lantern-lit journey with a park ranger. The tours will begin at the park visitor center where participants will receive a (solar-electric) lantern to carry through the historic home to light the way. In addition to the treat of seeing the mansion in the evening, when few people today get to see it, park rangers will discuss the ways that homes were illuminated at night in the mid nineteenth century and typical night time activities at a time when coping with the dark was far more profound than it is in the America of 2013. Visitors will take part in a common night time activity as part of the tour as well.
The tour is appropriate for all ages and there is no cost. Space is limited on the lantern tours so reservations are a must and are made by calling the site at 518-758-9689 . The site is located on Route 9H, two miles south of the Village of Kinderhook, New York. For additional information, visit www.nps.gov/mava or writeMAVA_info@nps.gov.
Did You Know?
President Martin Van Buren's oldest son Abraham graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1827. Abraham served for 18 years in the U.S. 1st Dragoons. He was brevetted lieutenant colonel in August 1847 after the Battles of Contreras and Churubusco during the Mexican War.