Lincoln's New Salem

      Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site, about 2 miles south of Petersburg and about 20 miles northwest of Springfield, is a reconstruction of the village where Abraham Lincoln spent his early adutlhood. The six years Lincoln spent in New Salem formed a turning point in his career. From the gangling youngster who came to the village in 1831 with no definite objectives, he became a man of purpose as he embarked upon a career of law and statesmanship.
   Although he never owned a home here, Lincoln was engaged in a variety of activities while he was at New Salem. He clerked in a store, split rails, enlisted in the Black Hawk War, served as postmaster and deputy surveyor, failed in business, and was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1834 and 1836 after an unsuccessful try in 1832.   The six years that Lincoln spent in New Salem almost completely encompass the town's brief history. The community was thriving when Lincoln settle here in 1831, but growth stalled before his 1837 move to Springfield to practice law. The 1839 establishment of the county seat at Petersburg hastened New Salem's decline.
   There are twelve log houses, the Rutledge Tavern, ten workshops, stores, mills, and a school where church services were held have been reproduced and furnished as they might have been in the 1830's. The furnishings, including many articles actually used by the New Salem people of Lincoln's time, and others dating back to the same time period, were assembled and donated to the state by the Old Salem Lincoln League. Included are such early-nineteenth-century articles as wheat cradles, candle molds, cord beds, flax hackles, wool cards, dough and cornmeal chests, and early American pewter.
Facilities include the Visitor Center housing an auditorium, museum, exhibits and offices. Picnicking and camping areas, a fast food restaurant, bookstore, and a souvenir shop near the Visitors Center and a Lincoln League Museum Store which sells nineteenth-century craft reproductions by Illinois Artisans.
An Outdoor Theater with a variety of live productions are featured from mid-June through late August.
A debt of gratitude is owed to the staff of New Salem State Historical Site. They have generously allowed  me to use the material from their brochure to present the photos I took at New Salem recently.
For more details and regulations, and details on the Hours of Operation, concerning this site, contact:
Lincoln's New Salem
R.R. 1, Box 244A
Petersburg, Illinois, 62675
Phone: 217-632-4000
Web Site:

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