Just a few miles north of Springfield is a small town called New Salem. New Salem was actually only a living, breathing town for about 15 years, until its residents realized that putting a town on top of a bluff was not such a smart idea back in the 19th century. The snow and ice during Illinois’ winters made it very difficult for wagons and horses to travel up and down the hill! So another town, much easier to get to, was founded at the bottom of the hill just a couple of short miles away.
During those short 15 years, however, New Salem had a very important resident. Abraham Lincoln lived in New Salem as a young man. It is in New Salem where Lincoln learned that he was not a very good storekeeper and would be a better lawyer instead.
Lincoln’s New Salem is now a wonderful outdoor museum, with reproductions of the cabins that used to stand up on that bluff over a hundred and fifty years ago. One of the buildings is original; it was found in the town below and taken back up to New Salem.
As we walked through New Salem, we saw some historical interpreters who talked about their trade and answered lots of questions! We saw a blacksmith making hooks and a wheelwright making spokes for a wagon. A tavern owner was cooking lunch in a fireplace, and we couldn’t help but want to taste the stew he was making! We had to go buy our lunch at the restaurant, however.
It was such a great morning! But what did we do in that afternoon? We had quite an adventure! Click here to read about it!