Where the Lincoln Legacy Began

Springfield, KY, “where the Lincoln legacy began,” is rich in the Lincoln family history, as well as Civil War history.

Abraham Lincoln’s parents wed in 1806 in the Beechland area of Washington County 4 miles from Springfield near what is now the Lincoln Homestead State Park. In honor of Lincoln a sculpture by artist Paula B. Slater, from Hidden Valley Lake, California was commissioned and sits in front of the Washington County Judicial Center. Its title, “In Sacred Union,” reflects two themes: Lincoln’s dedication to uniting our country after the Civil War and also the union of his parents Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks. Across the street from the sculpture in the 1816 Courthouse will be the “A. Lincoln Legacy Museum”, opening this summer.

Your journey into Americana history starts in picturesque downtown Springfield. Start at the restored Opera House which houses the Welcome Center, then browse the sites, enjoy the restaurants and get ready to be greeted by friendly smiles from residents who love their history and are happy to share it with you.

Where the Lincoln Legacy Began

History

The following attractions are open to the public. Please call for hours and activities.

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Lincoln Legacy Museum in the 1816 Courthouse

111 North Cross Main Street
Springfield, KY 40069
859 336 5410

Hours of Operation

Thursday - Saturday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m

Sunday- Noon - 4 p.m.

www.lincolnlegacymuseum.org

Lincoln Legacy Museum  in the historic 1816 Courthouse tells the life of President Abraham Lincoln, with an emphasis on his ancestors, his Kentucky roots, his life in Indiana and Illinois, and his significant presidency. This significant President has his roots right here in central Kentucky - where his family lived for nearly thirty years and where his parents courted and married. Shortly after their marriage near Springfield, the Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln family moved to Hardin County. In addition, other significant findings about the President are highlighted - such as the industrious ancestors that he never knew, the talents of his father in the woodworking industry, his family’s life in Springfield, and other aspects of his life that molded him into one of the best U.S. Presidents. His parents' original marriage bond and certificate of return still exist and are stored in the archives of the Courthouse. A replica of the documents are part of the exhibit.

 

lincoln statue

Abraham Lincoln Sculpture

Washington County Judicial Center
110 East Main Street
Springfield, KY

A 10-foot sculpture of the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, was dedicated here in April 2009. The bronze sculpture is one of three created in Kentucky to honor Lincoln as part of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration.

In Sacred Union, commemorates Lincoln’s search for evidence of his parents’ marriage and the discovery of their marriage records in Washington County thirteen years after his death. A one and a half times, life size, full-figure bronze sculpture of Lincoln is shown looking towards the old Washington County Courthouse, where the marriage bond laid waiting to be discovered. Just below, out of his line of sight, is a bronze plaque imprinted with a reproduction of Nancy Hanks and Thomas Lincoln’s Bond of Marriage. Two interlocking brick rings, representing the rings exchanged by bride and groom, connect the sculpture to the marker.

Campbell’s Westwind Farm/Walton Homestead

Campbell’s Westwind Farm/Walton Homestead

2888 Bardstown Road
Springfield, KY

859-336-9283
www.campbellfarmwoolart.com
General Matthew Walton, founder of Springfield, built the Walton Manor Cottage in 1784 and then Walton Manor in 1791.  John R. Barber purchased the house and land in the late 1800s.  The house was torn down in the early 1900s, but the original foundation, cellar and kitchen were used to build the current home in 1904-05.

The cottage remains in its original location and has been renovated to house the Campbell Farm Wool Art Center.  Mrs. Campbell is a spinner, natural dyer, weaver, sculptor, and puppeteer. Workshops are available, groups welcome.

Lincoln Homestead State Park

Lincoln Homestead State Park

5079 Lincoln Park Road
Springfield, KY

859-336-7461

Named one of the 1,000 places to see before you die, Lincoln Homestead became part of the state park system in 1936 to pay tribute to the parents of Abraham Lincoln who settled here in the late 1700s.

See the following historic buildings located within Lincoln Homestead State Park:

berry cabin

Berry Cabin

This original Berry Home has been moved from the Beechland section about a mile away and is preserved here. Nancy Hanks lived in this home when she was courted by Thomas Lincoln. In the large living room, before the immense fireplace, Thomas proposed to Nancy. This home is furnished with pioneer relics of the Lincoln Age.

Mordecai Lincoln House

Mordecai Lincoln House

US Highway 528
Springfield, KY

Revolutionary War Captain Abraham Lincoln owned over 5,000 acres in Kentucky Territory. In 1786, he was killed by Indians in the presence of his three sons – Mordecai, Josiah and Thomas. It was Mordecai Lincoln who shot and killed the Indians as they were about to kill his brother Thomas, who lived to become Abraham Lincoln’s father.

Built by the president’s favorite uncle Mordecai in 1797 at the age of 26 years, the house reflects his financial security and social status at the time. The dwelling was built on 300 acres of land purchased from Terah Templin, the first Presbyterian minister ordained in Kentucky, for 100 pounds.

The structure was renovated in 2007-2008 and is open for tours by appointment. Contact Lincoln Homestead at 859-336-7461.

Maple Hill Manor

Maple Hill Manor

2941 Perryville Rd., Highway 150
Springfield, KY

859-336-3075
800-886-7546
www.maplehillmanor.com

Built in 1851, this home has been utilized as a Confederate hospital, dinner house and children’s home. Formerly known as the T.I. McElroy House, this home was also the birthplace of Phil Simms, former quarterback for the New York Giants and 1987 Super Bowl MVP. It is currently an award winning bed and breakfast and alpaca and llama farm - Maple Hill Manor.

Mt Zion Covered Bridge

Mt. Zion Covered Bridge

KY 458
Springfield, KY

The Mount Zion Covered Bridge spans 246 ft. of the Beech Fork River and is the last of seven such structures that once stood in Washington County. Presently it is one of the longest multi-span bridges remaining in the state. The original cost to build the bridge was $5,000, paid by a special tax levied by the county. The bridge was completed on November 6, 1871, but is now bypassed and closed to traffic.

St Catharine College

St. Catharine College

2645 Bardstown Rd.
St. Catharine, KY

859-336-5082
www.sccky.edu

In 1823, the Dominican Sisters settled in Springfield several miles to the south of the present location and opened the St. Mary Magdelen Academy for local students. In 1851, the name of the convent and academy was changed to St. Catharine of Sienna and, in the 1890s, a larger school and convent were built. In 1904, a fire destroyed the school and convent.

St. Catharine College founded in 1931, is a small liberal arts college at its best. Offering certificate programs and associate and bachelor degrees in a wide variety of studies, SCC’s current enrollment is around 700 students.

St Rose Church

Saint Rose Church

868 Loretto Road
Springfield, KY

Part of the original brick church of 1809 has been preserved and is now the Eucharistic Chapel. The rest of the church was completed in 1854. Saint Rose Church is owned by the Dominican Priests.

 Springfield Cemetery

Springfield Cemetery

South Walnut Street
Springfield, KY

Notables buried here include Elizabeth Madox Roberts, famed author and poet; General Matthew Walton, founder of Springfield; and John Pope, First Governor of the territory of Arkansas and a U.S. Representative. A memorial to a slave named Louis Sansbury, who buried the townspeople who died during the cholera epidemics in 1833 and 1854, stands at the entrance.

Springfield Graded School/Board of Education

120 Mackville Hill
Springfield, KY 40069

859-336-5470

Built in 1903, the Springfield Graded School served as both an elementary and high school until 1974. During the first years of the school’s opening, there were 390 students and an average attendance of 270 through all eight grades. The land on which this building sits was originally owned by town founder General Matthew Walton who later sold it to Hugh McElroy.

Following the school closing, the building was remodeled and now serves as the Washington County Board of Education’s central office.

Springfield Opera House

Springfield Opera House

124 West Main Street
Springfield, KY

859-336-5412
www.springfieldky.org/operahouse.html

The original Opera House auditorium, on the second floor, was built circa 1900. After complete renovation in 2004, the facility features a 3,000 square foot auditorium that hosts a variety of events, including concert series, comedians, and performances by Central Kentucky Community Theatre, Inc. The Springfield Visitors Center and the Lincoln Heritage Center are both located on the first floor of the Opera House.

The Opera House auditorium is ideal for wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, class reunions, family reunions and other special events. A commercial kitchen is available for all catered events.

Springfield Presbyterian Church

Springfield Presbyterian Church

140 East Main Street
Springfield, KY

859-336-3601

The Springfield Presbyterian Church was founded around 1788. It is thought that Terah Templin, a pioneer missionary, preached the first sermon ever delivered in Kentucky. The current church structure was built in 1888, replacing earlier buildings on the same site.

Valley Hill Store

Valley Hill Store

65 Valley Hill Road
Springfield, KY 40069

859-336-0266

The Valley Hill Store began as a depot for the L&N Railroad when it was extended from Bardstown in 1888. The Government established a post office at this location and it was named for the nearby plantation “Valley Hill.”  In 1896, a store was opened at the depot. It currently houses a general merchandise store and gift shop featuring items made in Kentucky. Definitely worth the drive! Stop by here on your way to the Mt. Zion Covered Bridge.

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