Fifty-six steps, one for each year in Lincoln's life, lead to the entrance of a granite temple at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site, established in 1959. (The Abraham Lincoln National Park was established in 1916.) Enshrined in the temple is a one-room log cabin.

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site
©Dreamstime
This granite temple houses a one-room log cabin (probably
not the one Lincoln was born in).

Around the turn of the century, a group of famous benefactors, including Mark Twain and William Jennings Bryan, raised money to buy the farm where Lincoln was born, as well as a log cabin that had been part of a traveling exhibit, and built the memorial to house it. Though it appears now that this was not the cabin Lincoln was born in, it is representative of the sixteenth President's humble beginnings.

Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 in a log cabin near Sinking Spring on the family's farm. The spring provided reliable water, but the red clay and stony ground of the farm were not very fertile. The Lincolns' cabin was probably a typical frontier home of the time -- approximately 18 by 16 feet with a dirt floor, one window and one door, a small fireplace, and a shingled roof. Greased paper, animal skin, or an old quilt may have hung over the window to keep out insects and cold wind.

The visitor center has a museum about Lincoln, which includes a copy of the family Bible. Several hiking trails in the 116-acre park lead through the fields and woods of Lincoln's birthplace.

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site Information

Address: 2995 Lincoln Farm Road
Hodgenville, KY 42748
Phone: 502/358-3137
Hours of Operation: 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. in winter; 8 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. in summer
Admission: Free

Learn more about these other national historic sites:

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic SiteClara Barton National Historic Site
Fort Larned National Historic Site
Grant Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Adams National Historic Site
Edgar Allen Poe National Historic SiteFort Raleigh National Historic SiteHampton National Historic SiteLincoln Home National Historic SitePuukohola Heiau National Historic SiteTheodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic SiteEdison National Historic SiteFort Scott National Historic SiteHarry S. Truman National Historic SiteLongfellow National Historic SiteSagamore Hill National Historic SiteThomas Stone National Historic Site
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site Eisenhower National Historic Site Fort Smith National Historic Site Herbert Hoover National Historic Site Maggie L. Walker National Historic SiteSaint Paul's Church National Historic SiteThomas Stone National Historic Site
Boston African -American National Historic Site Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic SiteFort Vancouver National Historic SiteHome of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic SiteManzanar National Historic Site

Saint-
Gaudens National Historic Site

Touro Synagogue National Historic Site
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Eugene O'Neill National Historic SiteFrederick Douglass National Historic SiteHopewell Furnace National Historic SiteMartin Van Buren National Historic SiteSalem Maritime National Historic SiteUlysses S. Grant National Historic Site
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Ford's Theater National Historic SiteFrederick Law Olmsted National Historic SiteHubbell Trading Post National Historic SiteMary McLeod Bethune House National Historic Site Saugus Iron Works National Historic SiteWeir Farm National Historic Site
Charles Pinckney National Historic SiteFort Bowie National Historic SiteFriendship Hill National Historic SiteJames A. Garfield National Historic SiteMc Loughlin House National Historic SiteSewall -Belmont House National Historic SiteWhitman Mission National Historic Site
Chicago Portage National Historic Site
Fort Davis National Historic SiteGloria Dei Church National Historic SiteJimmy Carter National Historic SiteNinety Six National Historic Site Springfield Armory National Historic SiteWilliam Howard Taft National Historic Site
Christiansted National Historic SiteFort Laramie National Historic SiteGolden Spike National Historic SiteJohn Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic SitePalo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site Steamtown National Historic Site

Find out more about travel destinations in North America:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eric Peterson is a Denver-based freelance writer who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.