Over the weekend, we spontaneously decided to go to Lincoln’s New Salem. This was always my favorite field trip when I was growing up, so it was fun to take a field trip with the kids. When we got there, we were told that it was Bicentennial weekend at the park. All but one of the cabins was open for the public to walk through. There were people dressed in period costumes to tell you about the former owners of the homes/stores/shops. There was live music and poetry readings. It was such a fun day, and I’m so thankful that we got to see so much more than we thought.
They love posing by statues. When we first got there, we went into the visitor’s center. There is a small museum inside where you can see different artifacts and learn more about New Salem. Next to the visitor’s center is a small cafe and gift shop. Then, you walk down the path in between a thick group of trees. It opens up, and you can see the homes.
(Harper was refusing to carry her hat, so Scott put it on top of his own. He doesn’t usually wear this hat. 😉 ) I loved getting to go inside and see how people used to live in the 1830s. I’ll apologize now for the quality of some of these pictures. It’s hard to get good pictures in dark places.
Everything is so beautiful.
Harper really loved the beds. Most of these beds have a trundle bed underneath where the children’ would sleep– often 2-3 children on each.
The girls were so fascinated by all of the candles everywhere. It was hard for them to imagine life without lights.
The Cooper shop (building in the picture above) is the only structure that is original to the town. The rest have all been reconstructed. It was taken apart and moved to Petersburg where it stayed until 1922. Then, it was carefully taken apart and rebuilt in it’s original home of New Salem.
The beds and furniture are all so beautiful. I am so thankful for our modern-day mattresses though. I can’t imagine sleeping on straw.
Chloe and Addi loved seeing the spinning wheel. They were talking about Sleeping Beauty the whole time.
This is the inside of a wool mill. The technology of their day was really incredible. This machine was powered by two oxen walking on another machine outside. (see below picture)
That little high chair is so cute. Can you imagine having a baby in this time? Look at those floors.
We really wished they had a sign telling about this barn above. Most of the cabins have gardens in the yard. Some have the barns.
This table is from the tavern. There was a huge fireplace with tons of cooking tools hanging from the mantle. I told Chloe and Addi about how they used to cook over the fire. This is where travelers would come for a meal. Through the doorway was a large room with several beds where they would sleep for the night. They all took turns pretending to lift buckets of water from the well.
It felt like the temperature was a million degrees outside. In reality, it was over 90 degrees. We were so hot, and I can’t imagine how the period costume “characters” felt. We had so much fun despite the heat.
If you are ever looking for something to do in Illinois, I cannot recommend this place enough! Behind the visitor center is a campground. Across the road is a state park with a playground and hiking trails. It’s a quiet area, but It’s not far outside of Springfield. You can go into the town and there is a lot to see there also.
If you want to check out more information about New Salem, you can go here to this interactive map.