Making of a shrine at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

In the first installment of a two-part article at National Parks Traveler, Richard Sellars examines the religious imagery at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Indiana:

Several of the most prominent Lincoln sites, such as his home in Springfield, Illinois, Ford’s Theatre in Washington, and across the street the Petersen House where he died, portray aspects of the historic Lincoln, the gifted mortal—husband, father, lawyer, president. Other places are more clearly shrines: The imposing neoclassical marble temples found at the Lincoln birthplace in Kentucky and the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., reflect his deification in the public mind.

In Indiana, the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial also suggests his deification, but in a distinctive way. Reflecting a devoted public’s high tribute to Lincoln and his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, the memorial’s designers rejected neoclassicism and chose traditional Christian symbols.

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