Abraham Lincoln was born in a Kentucky log cabin and admitted to the bar in Illinois. He was inaugurated president in 1861 in Washington, DC, and he delivered his most famous address in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. America's most-tested president may not have had strong ties to New England, but there are still several places in the region where you can honor Lincoln's legacy during the 2009 celebration of the bicentennial of his birth.
© 2008 Kim Knox Beckius
Unveiled in 2008, the Lincoln Financial Sculpture Walk at Riverfront is a permanent installation of 15 works of art on both the Hartford and East Hartford banks of the Connecticut River. The Lincoln Financial Group Foundation provided funding to commission these intricate sculptures, which honor the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and symbolize equality, freedom and other universal themes. Among the 15 pieces on display are two statues by Preston Jackson, one of America's most renowned African-American sculptors.
© 2008 Kim Knox Beckius
Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin. His son, Robert Todd Lincoln, died in a 24-room Georgian Revival mansion in Manchester, Vermont. Although the president never set foot in Vermont, his legacy is well-preserved at this Lincoln family home, which is open for tours year-round. It's worth a visit just to hear the rare player organ, which was restored in 1980 after four decades of silence, and to view Lincoln's iconic stovepipe hat--one of only three that survive.
Lincoln did make three visits to Rhode Island, and through March 6, 2009, the John Hay Library on the campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, hosts a special exhibit, Abraham Lincoln: The Man, The Myth, The Making of a President
, highlighting materials from the library's impressive collection of original material on Abraham Lincoln. The exhibit is open free to the public during regular library hours. Through February 2010 by appointment only, library visitors may also view an exhibit of Lincoln portaits, Lincoln, Drawn from Life: Five Artists, Six Portraits
. Call 401-863-1515 to make arrangements.
On February 12, 2009--Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday--the New Hampshire Historical Society will unveil a new exhibit, Lincoln and New Hampshire
, at their library in Concord, New Hampshire. Admission to this ongoing exhibition is free to the public, and among the items visitors will see is a fragment of the coat Lincoln was wearing when he was assassinated. It was saved by Dr. Ezra W. Abbott of Concord, who was one of the half-dozen men who carried the wounded president from Ford's Theatre.
During the summers of 1863 and 1864, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln and her sons, Robert and Tad, vacationed at the Equinox Hotel in Manchester Village, Vermont. The president was scheduled to join them the following summer, but his post-Civil War vacation hopes were dashed by assassin John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865. According to stories, Mrs. Lincoln still haunts the Equinox
, although the historic hotel has just recently undergone a multi-million dollar renovation, so perhaps she's moved on.
Through April 26, 2009, the Amistad Center for Art & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, exhibits works of art from its own collection, along with loaned pieces, that explore Lincoln's place in African-American memory. Museum admission fees apply.