This is a big month for the National Park Service (NPS). Not only will the NPS celebrate its 104th birthday on August 25th, Lincoln Home will also celebrate its 49th anniversary of joining the NPS family and becoming Illinois’ first national park on August 18th.
Keep reading for a little history on both the Lincoln Home and the National Park Service and to find all the fun things you and your family can participate in from the comfort of your own home to help them celebrate.
The home, a small, humble 1½ story cottage, was built on the corner of 8th & Jackson streets in 1839. In 1844, the Lincoln’s purchased the house from its first owner, coincidentally, the Reverend that married the two, a year prior. The couple and their oldest son, Robert, moved in and made the house their home! Later, they would welcome three more Lincoln boys, Eddie, Tad and Willie. With the growth of their family, the Lincoln’s expanded their home by adding a full 2nd story in 1856.
The family lived here for 17 years, ultimately becoming the only home the Lincolns ever owned. When the Lincolns departed for Washington they rented out their home, leaving many items in storage, as it was their intention to return to Springfield after Lincoln’s presidency. After Abraham’s assassination in 1865, the home would remain a rental property until 1887 when Robert Lincoln donated the home to the State of Illinois to be preserved and protected for future generations. Robert’s only stipulation was that the home remain open to the public and free to all who visit.
Although Lincoln Home was open to visitors, available for filming of movies, and for presidential pilgrimages, the area continued to be modernized instead of historically preserved. Streets were being paved and street lights, fire hydrants and electric lines were being added to the landscape. The fate of Lincoln Home would change, however, when on August 18, 1971 President Richard Nixon signed authorization making Lincoln Home part of the National Park Service.
Beginning in 1987, the home was closed and the NPS started work to restore the home back to its original 1860s appearance. Along with the home being restored, the 4 square block, 12 acre neighborhood surrounding the home itself was restored as well. The Lincoln Home restoration was completed in 1988 and the NPS reopened the Lincoln Home to the public on June 16, 1988. It still, to this day, remains open to the public offering free tours on a daily basis, a visitors center with a film on the life of Lincoln and a bookstore for fun souvenirs, books and gifts. (Currently closed due to COVID-19)
The National Park Service will celebrate its 104th Birthday this month!! Happy Birthday to YOU! The NPS was established and entrusted with the care of our national parks when President Woodrow Wilson signed the legislation on August 25, 1916. The NPS challenges you to #FindYourPARK! A program designed to encourage individuals to find their personal connections to the national parks around the nation by getting up, getting out and finding your own park.
Taking a Tour
Although the Lincoln Home is currently closed due to COVID-19, the NPS still wants you to be able to experience this historic treasure! How you ask?? A virtual tour…take your tour today by clicking here
Take a tour the neighborhood here
and don’t miss a virtual Museum Tour as well, that takes a look at the artifacts throughout the home that tell the story of the Lincoln family. You can do that here.
Junior Ranger Program
The Lincoln Home offers a Junior Ranger Program for all their young visitors where they can learn about Lincoln and at the end of the program, earn a Junior Ranger badge. During this time, however, your little one can still become a Junior Ranger virtually, yep, how cool is that?? Check out how they can earn their very own badge here
Get Social with the Lincoln Home
On their Facebook
page you can enjoy “Trivia Tuesday” every Tuesday and a weekly “At Home with the Lincolns” which are stories of the Lincoln Home told by Park Rangers.