Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.

New Salem State Park-Lincoln History

Posted on Posted in Budget Escapades, Everyday Adventures, Illinois, State Parks

Contributed by Barb Lindsoe

Being born and raised in The Land of Lincoln, 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!

Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.
Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.
Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.
Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.

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 New Salem is shared by the wonderful, knowledgeable volunteers in the park who, obviously want to educate visitors about young Abe.

Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.
Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.
New Salem State Park, Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.
Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.

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.

Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.
Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.
Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.
Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.
Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.
Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.

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.

Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.
Lincoln Homestead, prior to his life in politics.

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 State Park 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
217-632-4000
Email: hpa.newsalem@illinois.gov

 

2 thoughts on “New Salem State Park-Lincoln History

  1. I LOVE camping, and it used to be my go to vacation, when money was tighter. Our last big camping trip was about 4 years ago now. We camped in Missoui and rafted the Meremec River. I surprised all the younger people with my former Girl Scout know how, and cooked a real meal for everyone on the fire! Maybe cooking on the fire should be a future article…

  2. I grew up in Springfield and this always was a neat thing to do. We recently revisited as Barb did here and saw some of the changes, mainly the “new” museum and visitor center. Artifacts like the ones which have been collected are always quite fascinating and for a small museum it is done very well, even my 11-year old found it interesting and for him that is saying something. The campground has been there for a long time, as a camper with lots of equipment it is painful to look at it without having the time to pitch that tent and start the fire ! Any campers out there ?

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