Abraham Lincoln Association (ALA) proposes to erect a replica of the Springfield,
Illinois, cottage that Abraham and Mary Lincoln purchased and moved into in
1844. They would like to have the cottage incorporated into Lincoln Home
National Historic Site through a legislated boundary expansion.
Coalition to Protect America's National Parks, which represents over 2,000
National Park Service retirees and employees, opposes the cottage proposal and
the entire project is fraught with numerous problems. The most significant
issue is that the ALA would spend $400,000 to build a replica of the cottage in which the
Lincoln family lived for only two years!
"Please understand that while the Lincolns lived in the home from
the original 'cottage' only accounted for two years of that
(See “opposition” details below.”)
basic truths about the history of the Lincoln Home
ALA's problems deal with: (Click on links for more detailed information)
ALA’s claim that they can construct “a replica of the home of Abraham Lincoln .
. . as it existed from 1844-1856,” is impossible.
in about 1846, the Lincolns added a bedroom and a pantry downstairs making it an
eight-room house, which the ALA ignores.
Lincoln family lived in the enlarged, eight-room house for about ten years. They did
not live in the original six-room cottage for twelve years, as the ALA claims.
ALA’s misleading proposal suggests that the Lincolns’ six-room cottage and the
eight-room house had a lack of space. Michael Burlingame uses words and phrases
such as: “cramped,” “how little space each member of the family had,” “narrow
confines,” “pressure cooker atmosphere,” and “tight quarters.” But only three
people lived in the original cottage for two years. (For the vast majority of
the years the Lincolns occupied the 1846-1856 enlarged cottage, there were only
four family members living there – Abraham and Mary Lincoln and two of their
boys.) Any suggestion that these were “cramped” quarters is false.
bottom line is that the Lincolns never had a space problem in their home, not
in the 1844-1846 cottage nor in the 1846-1856 enlarged house.
• The Lincoln marriage may have been “troubled,” but it was not because
there was “little space” in their home.
1855 and 1856, when the second story was enlarged, the number of rooms
increased from eight to twelve, it did not double from six to twelve.
In his book about the Lincoln marriage, An American Marriage, Michael
Burlingame repeats this error, writing on page 56: “It was far smaller than the Lincoln
house now to be seen in Springfield; in 1856, Mrs. Lincoln had it enlarged with
a second story, doubling the number of rooms.” The house was already eight rooms, not six. So “doubling the number of rooms” is an error.
Abraham Lincoln Association proposes to spend $400,000 to construct a replica
of the cottage in which the Lincolns lived only two years!
• False statements in the proposal publication and elsewhere.
• The architectural chronology of the Lincoln Home. What is true. What is false.
• Failure to identify the universal themes that it would convey.
• Failure to communicate with the agency leadership
of the National Park Service.
• Opposition to the proposal.