We had a delightful stroll around the trails at Sinking Springs Farm, home to the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. What is even more delightful, however, is the story of the establishment of this national site.
Lincoln’s father, Thomas, both a farmer and a carpenter, married Nancy Hanks in 1806. In 1808, he purchased 300 acres near Sinking Springs, an area that, in spite of it’s rocky soil, provided an ever important water source for the family. The following year, 1809, the couple welcomed the birth of a son, Abraham.
Thomas unfortunately lost the farm in a property dispute two years later, leasing land nearby at Knob Creek Valley until 1816. And as the Lincoln’s were going the many changes in life, the property at Sinking Springs went through its own changes.
The property changed hands several times over the years, but, in 1894, a portion of it was purchased by New York businessman Alfred Dennett. Holding our 16th president in high esteem, he created a park known as “Lincoln Spring Farm” and “Lincoln Birthplace”. He even built a small cabin there, some of the logs of which were thought to be from the original Lincoln cabin.
Forced into auction, the land was purchased in 1905 by “Colliers Weekly” publisher Robert Collier. Fortunately, at that time, which was nearing the 100th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, there was interest in memorializing the area. In fact, the following year, Collier, along with others, formed the Abraham Lincoln Farm Association; its goal to establish a memorial at Sinking Springs.
Word about their efforts began to spread, culminating in over $350,000 in donations from more than 120,000 people from across the country. President Theodore Roosevelt dedicated the cornerstone in 1909 and, in 1911, President William Howard Taft dedicated the completed project!
The result is a remarkable Neoclassic style building, designed by architect John Russell Pope, settled on 116 beautifully wooded acres! Trails meander around the grounds, giving visitors a small glimpse of what Honest Abe may have experienced more than a century ago.
Open year round, this national historic site is a must see!