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The True Land of Lincoln: Four Presidential Sites amidst the Kentucky Bluegrass

Mary Todd Lincoln house in Lexington, KY
Written by Suzy Guese

Illinois is often referred to as the “Land of Lincoln”. And while honest Abe spent a great deal of his political career in Illinois, the true land of Lincoln lurks amidst Kentucky bluegrass. From historic homes in Lexington to Abe’s humble beginnings just outside of the Bourbon Trail, you can uncover all sorts of reasons why Kentucky could very well be the land of Lincoln. With President’s Day around the corner, honor one of the greatest leaders of the nation by following this trail of Lincoln sites in Kentucky.

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park: Just outside of Hodgenville, Kentucky, travelers can visit the site where Lincoln first drew breath. Born February 12, 1809 in that famous log cabin, Abraham Lincoln spent the first few years of his life on the grounds of what was called the Sinking Spring Farm, named after the spring on the property that the Lincolns used. While the humble beginnings of the 16th president are evident on the grounds, the original log cabin does not remain. However you can see a reconstructed version of the cabin behind the doors of a grand neoclassical monument. However to reach this grand monument, you must climb 56 steps, the age of Lincoln at his death.

Abraham Lincoln’s Boyhood Home at Knob Creek: Just 10 miles northeast up the road, the Lincolns found their second home at Knob Creek from 1811 to 1816. Abraham Lincoln’s Boyhood Home at Knob Creek is often where he said his earliest recollections took place. The Lincolns lived on 30 acres of the 228 acres Knob Creek Farm. Home to another reconstructed boyhood cabin, you can roam the fields where Lincoln worked and played. This is also the site where he nearly drowned and where Abraham first witnessed slavery.

Mary Todd Lincoln House: One of the main reasons why Kentucky could be the true land of Lincoln is that both Abe and his wife hailed from the state. You can see that fact in Lexington where the Mary Todd Lincoln House stands. The 14-room home fills with period furniture, family portraits and furnishings from the Todds and the Lincolns. The future First Lady lived here from 1818 up until 1839 when she moved to Illinois and ultimately met Lincoln. The couple would return to the home in 1847. The Mary Todd Lincoln House is also the first house museum in America to honor a First Lady.

Farmington Historic Plantation:
If you make your way over to Louisville, a visit to the Farmington Historic Plantation is in order. Completed in 1816, the 550-acre hemp planation was home to a good friend of Lincoln’s, Joshua Speed. In 1841, Lincoln came to the planation to spend three weeks with his friend. It was from here that Abe recorded his impressions of slavery on a plantation. The site offers Lincoln exhibits and also details the history of the Speed family.


About the author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at

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