Lincoln Heritage Trail
|North end:||Lincoln Trail Homestead State Memorial|
The Lincoln Heritage Trail is a designation for a series of highways in the U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky that links communities with pre-presidential period historical ties to U.S. president Abraham Lincoln.
Fifty years after Lincoln's death (1915), the Illinois General Assembly authorized the Illinois State Historical Library to mark the exact route traveled by Lincoln from Kentucky through Indiana to Illinois. Almost another 50 years passed before the 1,000-mile (1,600 km) trail was opened in 1963. Author Andrew Ferguson cites Robert Newman, Illinois' director of tourism in the 1960s, as saying "the whole thing was cooked up by the marketing guys at the American Petroleum Institute. ... They wanted to get people traveling. Get 'em into their cars, get 'em buying gasoline." The Trail originally had 3,000 markers showing Lincoln's route to Illinois.
As of today, much of the trail is in disrepair and signs are missing or nearly obscured. Yet, some still exist. One sign still stands on US 68 in Perryville, Kentucky. You can see it if you are approaching Perryville on US 68 traveling west, as it is at the intersection of US 68, US 150, and KY 52. Another Lincoln Heritage Trail sign is located on US 60 in Frankfort, and you can see it if you're traveling east just past the interchange with US 421 and KY 676. Another sign is on US 60 Alt. near the Grinstead Drive/I-64 interchange in Louisville. These signs are well over 20 years old. They have not been replaced as Kentucky has moved from the old painted signs to Type III reflective signs. Some counties along the trail have made efforts to restore signs and markers, but overall, the trail is somewhat difficult to follow under modern conditions.