Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site

About 20 miles northwest of Springfield is Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site. New Salem, Illinois, was a village on the banks of Sangamon River from the 1820s to the 1840s. It would be completely forgotten but for one thing: Lincoln lived there.

It was mostly forgotten anyway until William Randolph Hearst became intrigued with the site and bought it in 1906, and soon conveyed it to the Old Salem Chautauqua in trust. Later, that group donated it to the state with the understanding that the 19th-century buildings be rebuilt as close as possible to their original locations. Eventually, during the Depression, that happened.

I have to like a collection of "19th-century" buildings built by the CCC. As a matter of fact, the CCC seems have done a fine job.

The day we visited, October 10, was warm and breezy, and the many trees were still more green than brown or yellow. A number of enormous oaks grow on the site, and the wind made them spit their acorns at passersby. I told Ann that one thing kids of the 19th century did to entertain themselves was throw acorns at each other. She wasted no time in using the acorns that way herself, except that no kids she knew were with us. So she threw them at me.

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