Contributed by Barb Lindsoe
Being born and raised in The Land of Lincoln, you would think I would have visited New Salem Village many times. I have been fortunate to take school field trips to the location where Abraham Lincoln, the nation's 16th president, is buried. As an adult, I have visited Gettysburg National Park. I was the only one in the group of tourists who could recite the Gettysburg address. I was required to memorize it by one of my teachers in grade school.
But until this week, it had not been since I accompanied my son's first grade class, that I had been to Lincoln's New Salem State Park. He is now 33. You do the math!
Since that visit years ago, I have become interested in my own genealogy. One of my ancestors is listed on the Lincoln Logs as someone who served under Abraham Lincoln in the Black Hawk War.
I guess that's why seeing the buildings at the park took on a new dimension for me. My ancestor would have walked this area and lived the life that is portrayed in New Salem. Typical day to day life in the New Salem Village is shared by the wonderful, knowledgeable volunteers in the park who, obviously want to educate visitors about young Abe.
In the village, you will find replicas of the Joshua Miller blacksmith shop, a schoolhouse and church, a carding mill and wool house, and replicas of many of the residences from Abraham Lincolns early life. And of course, there is the First Berry-Lincoln store, where Abe served as a clerk.
I don't remember if the park had camping 20 some years ago, but they do now. It's a nice shaded area with electric hookups, water available throughout the area and dump stations. The price with electric is $20.00 a night. It's located away from the city so it is a quiet, peaceful place.
The park has a visitor center, where an informational film about the village history, and Abraham Lincoln, can be seen. Concessions are available from April to October, with indoor or outdoor seating, and a picnic shelter is available at no cost, on a first come first served basis. Additional shelters are available near the Sangamon River, with advance reservations, for a $25 daily fee.
For anyone interested in taking a step back in American history, this is a good place to start. It is located about 2 miles south of Petersburg, Illinois, and about 20 miles northwest of Springfield, Illinois.
Admission to the park is free, so that everyone has an opportunity to experience this pivotal point in history, and in the life of one of most loved and influential presidents. However, a $4 donation for adults, and $2 donation for children, is suggested for those who have the means, to help maintain the park and all of the programs. Numerous educational and entertainment events are held throughout the year, often at no cost to visitors.
See all 39 of our fabulous pictures in the gallery, here: New Salem Homestead Gallery
Open air theater is also held in the park, performed by the Theater in the Park group, and supported by several area organizations. Tickets for the performances can be purchased in advance at the box office, which is in the New Salem State Park Visitor's Center, or online at their website, here: http://www.theatreinthepark.net/index.html Upcoming performances in 2017, include "Arsenic and Old Lace," and "Loose Lips Sink Ships."
For more information about New Salem State Park, see the official park website: http://www.lincolnsnewsalem.com/
For more information on the volunteers who work in the park, and their events, see their website: https://lincolnsnewsalem.org/
For more historical information, from a national point of view, visit the National Park Service website: https://www.nps.gov/liho/learn/historyculture/newsalem.htm
You can also contact New Salem State Park directly, here:
Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site
15588 History Lane
Petersburg, Illinois 62675