The Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. may be better known, but it isn’t the first. Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the First Lincoln Memorial in Hodgenville, Kentucky, Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace, on Lincoln’s birthday in 1909. William Howard Taft dedicated the completed memorial in November 1911, a few years before construction of the Washington D.C. memorial began.
First Lincoln Memorial
The Hodgenville memorial is in the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park. Begin with an orientation film in the visitor’s center. Exhibits include g a Bible known to have belonged to the Lincoln family. A diorama depicts what the inside of a one room cabin at the time of Lincoln’s birth would have looked like.
From the visitor’s center walk to the Lincoln Memorial. Climb the 56 stairs to the building, one for every year of Lincoln’s life. More symbolism lies in the building itself. Sixteen windows and sixteen rosettes in the ceiling symbolize Lincoln as the sixteenth president. An old cabin from the area is inside the memorial building. The cabin symbolizes the one in which Lincoln would have lived. The fencing that surrounds the cabin has sixteen posts.
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A short distance from the memorial building see Sinking Spring, the spring from which the Lincolns drew their water and from which the farm, Sinking Spring Farm, was named.
Lincoln Boyhood Home at Knob Creek
A few miles up the road see the site of Lincoln’s Boyhood Home at Knob Creek, where the Lincolns moved when Abe was two years old. Lincoln’s first recollections of life were at Knob Creek. Here you can hike a trail down to the creek or to the top of an adjacent knob for a view of the surrounding area.
If you go…
The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park is located at 2995 Lincoln Park Road, Hodgenville, Kentucky. Hodgenville is about 60 miles south of Louisville. Check the web site for further details.
Accommodations: Check rates at accommodations near Hodgenville
Disclosures: My visit to the Abraham Lincoln National Historic Park was hosted by the Kentucky Department of Tourism. My admission was complimentary, but all opinions in this article are my own.
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