The Abraham Lincoln Association has launched a $400,000 campaign to acquire vacant land to construct an accurate replica of Lincoln’s original cottage - before the home was expanded.
The budget includes $250,000 for construction, and $70,000 dollars for land acquisition. The remaining funds will be used for site cleanup, signs, and landscaping.
The replica will be of the 1.5 story, six room cottage the Lincoln family lived in from 1844 through 1856. It was then reconstructed into a spacious two story, 12-room home, of what visitor’s know of today.
Michael Burlingame, the distinguished chair in Lincoln studies tat the University of Illinois Springfield, said visitors will get an idea of what living conditions were like for the family the first 12 years they lived in Springfield.
“I wondered how so many people could co-exist in this cramped space,” Burlingame said. “What kind of privacy was there? What kind of interactions? What kind of tension within the family would build up in such a cramped space?”
The replica of the cottage will be located one block south of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. Visitors could easily compare the cramped lifestyle the family lived before they built their two story home.
Burlingame said visitors to the Lincoln Home are given a misleading impression of how the family lived most of the time they were in the house.
“I thought it would be appropriate for visitors to have some sense of what Lincoln’s home was like where he spent most of his time in Springfield, in a small cottage, rather than a rather large house,” he said.
Since the cottage is not a replica, and not an original building, it might be used for public events such as wedding receptions, lectures and classes.
Burlingame said he expects the replica to be completed within a year.