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Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site - BEST Places to Picnic
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Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park
2995 Lincoln Farm Road
Hodgenville, Kentucky 42748
Visitor Information
(270) 358-3137
Visitor Information
(270) 358-3138

Sinking Spring/Birthplace:  (Lincoln Birthplace) GPS: 37.531111, -85.7375
Knob Creek/Boyhood Home: GPS: 37.611389, -85.638333

Official NPS website: Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park preserves two farm sites where Abraham Lincoln lived as a child.

In the fall of 1808, Thomas and Nancy Lincoln settled on Sinking Spring Farm. Two months later on February 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born there in a one-room log cabin.

Today this site bears the address of 2995 Lincoln Farm Road, Hodgenville, Kentucky. A cabin, symbolic of the one in which Lincoln was born, is preserved in a memorial building at the site.

The Lincolns lived and farmed at Sinking Spring before moving to land a few miles to the northeast along Knob Creek, near present-day U.S. Highway 31W.

Memorial Building
A Beaux-Arts neo-classical Memorial Building was designed by John Russell Pope for the birthplace site. In 1909 the cornerstone was laid by President Theodore Roosevelt and the building was dedicated in 1911 by President William Howard Taft. Almost a hundred years after Thomas Lincoln moved from Sinking Spring Farm, the log cabin was placed inside the Memorial Building. The Memorial Building features 16 windows, 16 rosettes on the ceiling, and 16 fence poles, representing Lincoln's being the 16th president. The 56 steps leading up to the building entrance represent his age at his death.

The Log Cabin
The original log cabin that Lincoln was reputed to have been born in was dismantled sometime before 1865 because it was a prostitute house. Local tradition held that some of the logs from the cabin were used in construction of a nearby house. New York businessman A.W. Dennett purchased the Lincoln farm in 1894 and used the logs from this house to reconstruct a cabin similar in appearance to the original cabin where Lincoln was born.

Soon the cabin was dismantled and re-erected for exhibition in many cities. Eventually the logs for this cabin, along with logs reputed to have belonged to Jefferson Davis' birthplace and possibly a third cabin, were purchased by the Lincoln Farm Association (LFA), which believed they had acquired only Lincoln logs. When workers tried to reconstruct the cabin, they discovered the problem.

The LFA bought a one-room cabin similar to the one reconstructed by Dennett. When the last rebuilt cabin was placed in the Memorial Building, its size made visitor circulation difficult. The LFA reduced the cabin's size from 16-by-18 feet to 12-by-17 feet.

Today, historians recognize that the former claim that these logs were from Lincoln's birth cabin was essentially inaccurate.

Knob Creek
Knob Creek Farm has been a noncontiguous section of the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park since 2001; prior to that date it was privately owned. From 1811 to 1816 it was the home of the future President of the United States Abraham Lincoln, who said it was his "earliest recollection". The site consists of four buildings, two of which are historical in nature.

The total acreage of Knob Creek Farm is 228 acres, of which the Lincolns lived on 30 acres. Lincoln's father Thomas Lincoln did not actually own the farm; he leased the land by the Old Cumberland Trail (now U.S. 31E) in hopes of regaining the Sinking Spring Farm, where Lincoln was born. It was on this site that Lincoln had a baby brother, Thomas, born and died. Lincoln himself almost died at the farm as well, nearly drowning at the adjacent Knob Creek until neighbor and friend Austin Gollaher extended a branch to rescue him from the swollen creek. The cabin the Lincolns lived in was destroyed in the 19th century.

The two historical buildings at the location are the Lincoln Tavern and the Gollaher Cabin. The Tavern was built in 1933 at the cost of $4,200; the 1.5 floor structure was constructed of logs and concrete in an asymmetrical plan. The Gollaher Cabin was built around the year 1800, and moved to its present location to reflect what the Lincoln cabin would look like.

It is the very cabin Austin Gollaher's family lived in during Lincoln's stay at Knob Creek Farm. The tavern was built to cash in on the booming tourist trade that came to LaRue County to see sites connected with Lincoln, much as the Nancy Lincoln Inn was. It was originally a dance hall that served liquor, but when LaRue County became "dry" it was converted to a museum and gift shop, as it remains to the present day. During the 1980s 20,000 annually visited the complex.

It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 16, 1988, due to its role in tourism in Larue County, Kentucky, and for its connections with Abraham Lincoln.

Administrative History
The original Memorial was constructed by the Lincoln Farm Association. In 1916, they donated the Memorial to the Federal government, which established the Abraham Lincoln National Park on July 17, 1916.

The War Department administered the site until August 10, 1933, when it was transferred to the National Park Service. It was designated as the Abraham Lincoln National Historical Park on August 11, 1939.

It was renamed and redesignated Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site on September 8, 1959.  As with all historic sites administered by the National Park Service, the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, effective on October 15, 1966.

The historic site's definition was expanded to include the Knob Creek site on November 6, 1998. On March 30, 2009, the site was redesignated a National Historical Park.

Also on the property is the privately owned Nancy Lincoln Inn.

Places To Go
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace Unit

  • Visitor Center - Information, exhibits, movie and book store

  • Memorial Building - Symbolic Cabin and information

  • Sinking Spring - Water source for the Lincoln Family

  • Site of Boundary Oak Tree - White oak tree used for survey marker as early as 1805

  • Hiking Trails - Boundary Oak Trail and Big Sink Trail (Picnic Area)

  • Picnic Area and Pavilion - Across the main road from park entrance

Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home Unit

  • Ranger Station - Information (Summer only)

  • Knob Creek - Water source for the Lincoln family

  • Hiking Trail - Overlook Trail or hike along the creek where young Abraham and friends used to work and play

  • Picnic Area - Enjoy a picnic

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace Unit

From the North: Take Interstate 65 South to Exit 91 (Elizabethtown). Follow KY 61 (Lincoln Parkway) 13 miles south to US 31E. Take US 31E south 1.3 miles to the park, picnic entrance on left and main entrance on right.

From the South: Take Interstate 65 North to Exit 81 (Sonora). Proceed east on KY 84 to KY 61. Turn right on KY 61, then turn right onto US 31E 1.3 miles to park; picnic entrance on left and main entrance on right.

From Boyhood Home Unit at Knob Creek: Turn right onto US 31E. Proceed southwest for approximately 10 miles, picnic entrance on left and main entrance on right.

Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home Unit at Knob Creek
From Lexington, KY: Take US 60 West to Exit 72 (Martha Layne Collins / Bluegrass Parkway). Proceed on Bluegrass Parkway to Exit 21 (Bardstown, US 31E). Follow US 31E South for approximately 20 miles; entrance on right.

From Louisville, KY: Take Interstate 65 South to Exit 91 (Elizabethtown). Follow KY 61 (Lincoln Parkway) approximately 10 miles south. Turn left onto KY 84. Turn left onto US 31E. Proceed northeast for approximately 8 miles; entrance on left.

From the South: Take Interstate 65 North to Exit 81 (Sonora). Proceed east on KY 84. Turn left onto US 31E. Proceed northeast for approximately 8 miles; site off to left.

From the Birthplace Unit: Turn left out of park onto US 31E (KY 61). Proceed northeast for approximately 10 miles; entrance on left.

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