|Lincoln State Park|
|Location||Spencer County, Indiana, United States|
|Nearest city||Lincoln City, Indiana|
|Area||1,747 acres (7.07 km2)|
|Visitors||234,226 (in 2018–2019)|
|Governing body||Indiana Department of Natural Resources|
The park was established in 1932 and encompasses 1,747 acres (707 ha). There are 10 miles (16 km) of trails in the park. Many of the recreational facilities found within the park were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. In addition to the Sarah Lincoln Woods Nature Preserve, there are two lakes, campgrounds, group cottages, and cabins.
The park provides access to many sites important to Abraham Lincoln during his childhood, including Abraham Lincoln's Boyhood Home; the Little Pigeon Creek Baptist Church and Cemetery, where his sister Sarah Lincoln Grigsby is buried; and the home of Colonel Jones a Civil War officer and merchant who employed Lincoln. Memorials were established to recognize Lincoln's mother Nancy Hanks Lincoln, whose gravesite is now contained within the adjacent Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. There is also an interpretive center. The park receives about 235,000 visitors annually.
The park is 1 of 14 Indiana State Parks that are in the path of totality for the 2024 solar eclipse, with 2 minutes and 5 seconds of totality.
Little Pigeon Baptist Church
Noah Gordon donated the land, about a mile and a half from the Lincoln farm, for a church in 1820. In 1821, Abraham Lincoln's father, Thomas Lincoln, was asked to oversee the construction of the Little Pigeon Baptist Church. Abraham, at age twelve, helped his father build the church. Thomas also constructed the cabinets and pulpit inside the church. The church, like other churches in the West, would not likely have had a college-trained minister. It was a Primitive Baptist or "Hard Shell Baptist" church.
Thomas joined the church with his second wife, Sarah Bush Lincoln, on June 7, 1823, and five days later became a trustee. The church membership was generally limited to married adults. Thomas's daughter Sarah, for instance, was not made a member until 1826, shortly before her marriage. The Lincoln and Johnston children stayed at home when their parents went to church. Later, Abraham attended church. In 1825, the church decided to build a cemetery alongside the church. The church provided a means for a number of social gatherings for men and women.
It was called the Old Pigeon Church after several families, including the Grigsbys, split off from the church in 1840 and built a new Little Pigeon Baptist Church farther south. They split off from the old church due to differences of opinion about Sunday school and mission work.
The current structure is part of the state park and contains a cornerstone from the original church. Near the church is a small cemetery where the grave of Lincoln's sister, Sarah Lincoln Grigsby, is located. A congregation no longer worships there.
The Noah Gordon Mill Site
Also within the park are the Noah Gordon home and mill sites. Noah Gordon was a neighbor of the Lincoln family and maintained a small grain mill. Abraham Lincoln spent many hours waiting his turn to mill grain here. Nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln was knocked unconscious for several hours after he was kicked in the head by a horse milling grain at Gordon's mill.
The James Gentry Home Site
Young Abraham Lincoln worked for James Gentry at his general store. The home site of James Gentry is located within Lincoln State Park off of trail 3. Abraham Lincoln took a flatboat trip to New Orleans, leaving from Rockport, to sell goods for Gentry. It was on this trip to New Orleans that Lincoln first witnessed slavery.
The Col. William Jones Home
The park also includes the restored Colonel William Jones House near Gentryville. Col. Jones was a merchant, farmer, politician, and Union Colonel during the American Civil War. The home was built around 1834 and the farm contained a general store where Abraham Lincoln was also employed. Born in Vincennes in 1803, Jones settled in Spencer County in 1828. Jones and his wife, Rachel, raised five sons on this farm. The home is open for tours, including a restored log barn. The home is located 1/4 mile west of Gentryville on Boone Street.
Within Lincoln State Park is the Lincoln Amphitheatre, a modern covered outdoor amphitheater that was constructed in 1987 and began producing Young Abe Lincoln (written by Billy Edd Wheeler), that year. After being closed in 2005, Lincoln: Upon The Altar of Freedom premiered in June 2009 for the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth. The play returned for a second year in June 2010 and introduced the new "Concert in the Park" which features cast members singing some of the most popular songs and hymns during Lincoln's life following each nightly performance. In 2011 Lincoln: Upon The Altar of Freedom was rewritten into a musical renamed A. Lincoln: A Pioneer Tale. It recounts both Lincoln's childhood and major events in his presidency. It opened on June 8, 2012. It played its third season in 2014. A Pioneer Tale and The Lincoln Amphitheater went dark in 2015 for changes in management. In the 2016 season, The Indiana Department of Tourism operated the amphitheater. A Pioneer Tale would play its 4th season that same year with many concerts taking place during the 2016 season. In 2017, The Actor's Community Theater of Jasper remounted a 30th-anniversary production of Young Abe Lincoln as part of the 2017 season. It was performed again in 2018 as an "Encore" Production. In 2019, Here I Grew Up, a brand new Lincoln Drama premiered at the Lincoln Amphitheatre. The show had a book written by Jasmine Bosler, Kyle Rupert, Molly Rupert, Dean Dorrell, Heath Kluemper and Tyler Smith, with music written by Jason Kleiman.
Lincoln Interpretive Center
Seasonal programs are offered at the Lincoln Interpretive Center, the park's nature center, which also features natural history exhibits.
- "2018 / 2019 Estimated Fiscal Year Visits for Indiana State Parks ~ Alphabetical" (PDF). Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
- "Lincoln State Park". Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
- R, Mike (2021-07-14). "Indiana 2024 Eclipse State Park Resources". CosmosPNW. Retrieved 2022-10-03.
- Bartelt, William E. (2019-01-01). There I Grew Up: Remembering Abraham Lincoln's Indiana Youth. Indiana Historical Society. ISBN 978-0-87195-443-5.
- White, Ronald C. (2009-01-13). A. Lincoln: A Biography. Random House Publishing Group. pp. 35. ISBN 978-1-58836-775-4.
- Miller, Richard Lawrence (2006). Lincoln and His World. Stackpole Books. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-8117-0187-7.
- "Abraham Lincoln was reared in the faith of "Hard Shell" Baptists". The Magazine of History. Vol. 20, no. 1. W. Abbatt. 1922. p. 36.
- Ammeson, Jane Simon (2019-04-01). Lincoln Road Trip: The Back-Roads Guide to America's Favorite President. Indiana University Press. pp. PT115. ISBN 978-1-68435-064-3.
- Miller, Richard Lawrence (2006). Lincoln and His World. Stackpole Books. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-8117-0187-7.