Nestled in the rolling hills of central Illinois lies a remarkable destination that brings history to life: the Lincoln New Salem State Historic Site. Located two miles south of Petersburg and 20 miles northwest of Springfield, this reconstructed pioneer village offers visitors an immersive experience into the formative years of Abraham Lincoln, one of America’s most revered presidents.

Lincoln New Salem is not just a museum – it is a vivid recreation of the village where a young Lincoln lived from 1831 to 1837. During these six years, Lincoln worked as a store clerk, a postmaster, a surveyor, and eventually launched his legal and political career.

The site consists of 12 log houses, the Rutledge Tavern, ten workshops, stores, mills and a school where church services were held, which have all been reproduced and furnished as they might have been in the 1830s.

One of the highlights of visiting Lincoln New Salem is the chance to engage with living history interpreters. Dressed in authentic 19th century attire, these knowledgeable guides bring the past to life by demonstrating traditional crafts, trades, and daily activities.

The site also features a visitor’s center with exhibits that provide additional context about Lincoln’s time in New Salem.

In addition to its historical significance, Lincoln New Salem is also a place of natural beauty and tranquility. The site’s scenic surroundings provide ample opportunities for hiking, picnicking and enjoying the outdoors.

The Lincoln New Salem State Historic Site is open May through October from Tuesday-Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is also open November through April from Tuesday-Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There is no admission fee to visit New Salem, just a suggested donation of $2 for children, $4 for adults, and $10 for a family.

To learn more, visit the Lincoln New Salem website.