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Lincoln Day memorial Sunday

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Local historian Bill Bartelt to speak

By DON STEEN

Staff Writer

reporter@spencercountyjournal.com

 

LINCOLN CITY – The longest government shutdown in U.S. history came to a close Jan. 25 and the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, along with other national parks, has resumed operations.

While many sites related to the national park system suffered damage due to vandalism or neglect during the shutdown, the grounds of the memorial in Spencer County emerged relatively unscathed. Park staff are once again hard at work maintaining the memorial center, trail network and living history farm that serve to honor Abe Lincoln’s boyhood years there.

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial preserves the Indiana farm where Abraham Lincoln lived for 14 years, from 1816 to 1830, and the site where his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, is buried. The Memorial is located eight miles south of Interstate 64 on Indiana Highway 162, adjacent to Lincoln State Park.

Rhonda Schier, acting superintendent for the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, advised that visitors can expect the full gamut of services and educational resources at the visitor’s center to be available once again. She also welcomed all to join the memorial in celebrating the annual Lincoln Day tradition in the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hall at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10.

The 2019 Lincoln Day program will include a presentation of the colors by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, special music and other ceremonial activities to honor the memory of Abraham Lincoln and his family. Following the indoor program, the traditional pilgrimage to the gravesite of Nancy Hanks Lincoln for a wreath laying ceremony will be held.

All in attendance will be welcome to a reception in the Nancy Hanks Lincoln Hall at the conclusion of the program.

The featured speaker of this year’s Lincoln Day program will be local historian and author Bill Bartelt of Newburgh. He worked more than 15 summers at the memorial and is a prominent member of the Southwestern Indiana Historical Society, specifically on the topic of the 16th President’s early years.

Bartelt serves on the board of trustees of the Indiana Historical Society and received the Indiana Historical Society’s “Hoosier Historian” award in 2003. He is the author of “There I Grew Up: Remembering Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana Youth,” among other works. Bartelt will speak about his current research on the “Lincoln Inquiry,” a series of studies conducted by the Southwestern Indiana Historical Society in the 1920’s aimed at helping document the history of Lincoln and his family during their time in southern Indiana.

Visitors are also welcome to visit the memorial Tuesday, Feb. 12, to celebrate the official date of Lincoln’s 210th birthday. The visitor’s center will host an informative film, which will show throughout the day. Visitors may also explore the museum exhibits and enjoy the historic Lincoln portraits on display in the visitor center. The 12th visitor that day will receive a special commemorative roll of Lincoln pennies from 2009, the year of Lincoln’s 200th birthday. These pennies were specially minted to acknowledge Lincoln’s Indiana years.

Those unable to attend these events can still take in the sights at the park during regular winter operating hours. The visitor center is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. until March 31, when more activities will resume with the onset of spring. The Lincoln Living Historical Farm will be staffed beginning April 1, and Schier reported that all its animals have emerged healthy and in good spirits from the last bout of winter.

The historical farm will also see some renovations in the coming weeks, including a reroofing of the central cabin and a rehabilitation of the trails leading to the farm. Park employees are also working to prepare the visitor’s center for busier days to come.

“All our resources are in good condition and the staff is busy,” said Schier.