Monday, July 26, 2010
Golden Nose of Lincoln
Springfield, Illinois is about 40 minutes away from our home. We traveled there today to see the Lincoln sights. We introduced Zoe to Abraham Lincoln last year on a visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. She came out of that experience with a stovetop hat and Lincoln beard, a civil war era flute and a children's book on the 16th president. If you ask her she'll tell you that some guy shot Abraham Lincoln in the head. She loves that book.
We have a framed photo of President Lincoln by our front door. Our home is situated near the old Springfield-Paris road. Travelers would pass right by our property on their way to Springfield from the eastern part of the state. Abraham Lincoln was said to have traveled this road often when he was a lawyer. It's also been said that there was a traveler's inn on our land. We have stone foundation markers in our yard where this inn was rumored to have been located. Just think, Abraham Lincoln probably stopped off in our side yard to sit a spell!
So, we adore all things Lincoln. He did have some faults as some historians will be sure to explain. You can even read about some of his misgivings at the Presidential Museum in Springfield. We do know that he was a brave and admirable man and we hope to teach our children about his kindness and determination.
Our first stop in our visit to Springfield today was the Lincoln home. It was the only home that the Lincolns ever owned. All of the Lincoln children lived in this house at one point. We saw the small bedroom the children shared. Abraham and Mary had their own separate bedrooms, hers being furnished with it's own chamber pot. We took note that the chairs in the living room were rather small. The park ranger guiding our tour said that Lincoln often would sit on the floor rather than in the chairs...his knees would knock him in the chin.
After touring his old neighborhood, we drove a little north in Springfield to his tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery. It's in a beautiful cemetery full of unique mausoleums and rolling hills. The Lincoln Tomb sits at the top of a hill and a large obelisk juts up into the sky announcing itself to all below. There is a bust of Lincoln's head outside the tomb and his nose has been touched by many visitors over the years. His nose has had the patina rubbed off of it and it's now the golden nose of Lincoln. Both girls rubbed his nose as did Chad and I. I remember doing the same thing when I was a kid visiting the tomb. I wonder how that tradition got started? Is it for good luck? It's a mystery to me.
Zoe got a little creeped out inside. The walls are marble and voices and footsteps emit an eerie echo. His wife Mary and three of the four Lincoln boys are buried inside. That also creeped her out a bit. I don't blame her. Just wait until we take her to see the Parisian or Italian catacombs someday. Talk about creepy.
We ended our Lincoln excursion with a lovely picnic lunch and Zoe got a flattened penny of the Lincoln Tomb to add to her collection.