Tuesday, October 03, 2006
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS: Today was another beautiful drive through the countryside. We prefer the narrow, winding, country roads over the boring super highways filled with 18 wheelers racing from one state to another. In the past three days we've driven through the small river towns with main streets lined with oak and maple trees. This morning we exchanged the colorful trees for golden brown stalks of corn and rusty amber fields of soybeans. The countryside was still hilly, and the roads still wound around, but it was definitely farm country rather than river towns. Then this afternoon we came to New Salem, the reconstructed village where Abraham Lincoln spent his young adulthood. In fact, the six years (1831-1837) that Lincoln spent there almost completely encompasses the town's brief history. There is one original building, the others are reconstructed from descriptions and drawings from citizens who lived there at the time. The first step toward reconstruction was taken in 1906 when newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst purchased the site. Work began in 1917 but it wasn't until the 1930's when the Civilian Conservation Corps continued and finished the project. Apparently this is a living history site, and there are hundreds of volunteers who are usually "living" and "working" in the log homes, workshops, and other buildings. But wouldn't you know, they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays! We were still able to walk through the village but all the buildings were locked so we couldn't go inside.
We are in another campground tonight....two nights in a row! The weather was terribly hot today, in the 90's, which is way too warm for me, and there are storms forecast for tonight. We plan to go to all the Lincoln sites in Springfield tomorrow, including the new Lincoln Museum. It should be another interesting day.
The first picture is taken by the village of New Salem. I love the split rail fence. The picture below is a reconstruction of Lincoln's store, which was his attempt at being a businessman, a venture that failed. When Lincoln came to the village in 1831, he had no definite objectives, but while he was there he taught himself law and became a lawyer and a statesman.