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Lincoln’s New Salem Handicapped/Fat Friendly

November 30, 2012
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On September 7th, my husband and I traveled to Illinois for my son’s wedding. On the way home, we decided to do some sightseeing, since I had my mobility scooter and wanted to try it out.

Jon and Jennifer (my son and his new wife) leaving the church after the wedding.

Our first stop was in Springfield to see Lincoln’s Tomb and the three Veterans Memorials. I don’t know if the restrooms at Lincoln’s Tomb are handicapped/fat friendly — they were closed and locked up tighter than a tick when we were there on Sunday. I do know that I wouldn’t have been able to get in the door by myself on my scooter, as there was no automatic opener for the door. I was able to navigate all around the tomb on my scooter and take all the pictures I wanted from it.

The path leading up to Lincoln’s Tomb.

My grandson, Mykel, rubbing Lincoln’s nose for good luck.

After Lincoln’s Tomb, which is located in Oak Ridge Cemetery, we drove through the cemetery to find the World War II Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. All three of them were located in close proximity to each other, so we could park the van, unload my scooter, and I could ride from one memorial to the next while my husband and grandson walked along. We took a lot of pictures there too, and all three memorials were very handicapped accessible with seating incorporated into their design.

The globe has stainless steel pins with numbers/letters that correspond to the letters/numbers on the wall next to the battles/highlights of WW II.

The copper centerpiece has representations of soldiers from all of the armed forces that served in the Korean War. The names of the soldiers from Illinois who died in Korea are engraved on the base.

There is a natural gas flame in the center of those 4 pillars that burns eternally in remembrance of all who died in the Vietnam War.

We spent the night in Springfield and got up bright and early Monday morning for our trip to Petersburg, Illinois, where Lincoln’s New Salem is located. LNS is a re-creation of the New Salem where Lincoln lived for six years — 1831 to 1837. While in New Salem, Abraham Lincoln clerked in a store, split rails, enlisted in the Black Hawk War, served as postmaster and deputy surveyor, failed in business, ans was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1834 and 1836, after an unsuccessful try in 1832. He moved to Springfield in 1837 to practice law, and when the county seat was established at Petersburg, New Salem started to decline (for years in the 1900s, most of the town was nothing but pasture, with only one or two houses left in disrepair).

Reconstruction was started in 1932 and some of the work was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The log cabins are built with logs, notched and laid like they would have been when they were originally built. There are no nails holding them together. They are chinked with cement now instead of the mud/straw/horsehair mix that was originally used. The original chinking had to be replaced six to seven times a year (not something I would want to do, and there is a small exhibit showing how that was done). These buildings have been standing for 80 years and other than the logs being weathered with age, they look much as they did when they were built in 1932. More than 900 period articles furnish the homes/stores in LNS, most of which were donated, and some of which actually belonged to residents of New Salem.

There are 12 log houses, a tavern, ten workshops, stores, mills, and a school which doubled as a church. There is a blacktopped trail that leads you through the village, with paths to each. It’s approximately 3/4 of a mile from one end of the village to the other, but with all the side trips, you can end up walking a couple of miles. I was very glad I had my scooter, as it made it easy to see everything; although I did have to get off of it to go into the houses that were open (not all of them were). Some of the houses had people in period dress who would tell you about the people who lived in the house, what they did for a living, how many children they had, where they originally came from, and so on. One family had six children and they lived in two rooms — I couldn’t do that. No way, no how.

There is also a visitor’s center with a museum and auditorium, both of which are very fat friendly and handicapped accessible. I didn’t have any trouble at all navigating the center with my scooter. There’s a museum store which is also handicapped navigable, as is the restaurant and store. The restaurant has sturdy chairs with no arms at tables, no booths (a definite plus, in my estimation).

Statue of Abraham Lincoln at the entrance to New Salem (restaurant and store in the background).

One of the ladies in costume in one of the houses, telling us about the people who lived that house.

Two-hole outhouse (his and hers?).

One of the workshops.

Another of the ladies, in costume, explaining about the dyes used, where they got them, how they used them, etc.

Under the mill, at the back – that wheel is huge!

Inside the store Lincoln owned for a short time and later sold.

One of the houses.

There’s a house and a tavern at the end of this trail, they’re a bit away from the rest of the village.

This was the tavern in town. Back then, taverns weren’t a place to get alcohol, they were where you went for a meal and a bed for the night when traveling.

The Museum Store, where you can buy all sorts of Lincoln and New Salem memorabilia.

A split rail fence and a spit for roasting a pig.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lauren C. permalink
    December 1, 2012 5:06 am

    Congratulations on the new daughter-in-law. Thank you for sharing your trip, very interesting.

  2. Happy Spider permalink
    December 1, 2012 12:07 pm

    I have really enjoyed your posts about the mobility scooter. After you got it, I thought, “well, I liked hearing about the decision to buy a mobility scooter, but, now that she has one, will it actually work? Sometimes things sound much better on paper or in the planning stages than they work out to be in practice.”. So I am glad that you’ve had these two posts about sightseeing in Illinois (and I may have forgotten a post or two).
    I like the details you give. They make me feel like I’m there. It’s great that you got to see and enjoy so much stuff because of being mobile.
    I’ve been to a few historical reenactment villages too and I liked talking to the blacksmith or storekeeper or soldier or whoever and hearing what they have to say about their lives. I always asked more questions than anybody else.

  3. Happy Spider permalink
    December 1, 2012 12:14 pm

    I’m sorry, in the reply I just made I think I mixed together the posts you’ve made here at Fierce Freethinkng Fatties and the posts in your blog Big Fat Delicious that you advertise in your signature and over in the sidebar. Both blogs are really good.

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