The Truth about Lincoln's Springfield Cottage
cottage_1844-1846
Website maintained by Norman Hellmers
(Biographical information)
Send any questions or comments to: norm.hellmers@gmail.com
The Truth about the Lincoln Cottage Proposal

The 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.

Unfortunately, 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!

The Coalition to Protect America's National Parks, which represents over 2,000 National Park Service retirees and employees, opposes the cottage proposal and notes: 
          "Please understand that while the Lincolns lived in the home from 1844-1861, 
          the original 'cottage' only accounted for two years of that occupancy."
(See “opposition” details below.”)

Some basic truths about the history of the Lincoln Home
       The ALA’s claim that they can construct “a replica of the home of Abraham Lincoln . . . as it existed from 1844-1856,” is impossible.
       Already in about 1846, the Lincolns added a bedroom and a pantry downstairs making it an eight-room house, which the ALA ignores.
       The 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.
       The 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.
       The 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.
       In 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.
     Note: 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.
       The Abraham Lincoln Association proposes to spend $400,000 to construct a replica of the cottage in which the Lincolns lived only two years!

The ALA's problems deal with:      (Click on links for more detailed information)
     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.

Lincoln's Springfield Cottage: Proposal for Creating a Replica
An online version of the proposal for Lincoln's Springfield Cottage
prepared by the Abraham Lincoln Association can be found here:
https://abrahamlincolnassociation.org/lincolns-springfield-cottage/
Comments on the ALA Proposal
The proposal of the Abraham Lincoln Association to construct a replica
of the 1844 Lincoln cottage requires corrections and comments.
Comments_of_Norman_Hellmers

Falsehoods in the ALA Proposal
The Lincoln family lived in the six-room 1844 cottage only about two years. The ALA does not take into account that the cottage was enlarged in about 1846 and that for the next ten years, the Lincolns lived in an eight-room house. The ALA ignores this enlargement and infers that the Lincolns lived in just the original cottage for twelve years (1844-1856). This is false. Because of this mistake by the ALA, their proposal contains a number of errors. (Pages 2-6 were written by Michael Burlingame.) The following documents explain those errors.
     01, an explanation of the falsehoods
     02, indicates in yellow where these falsehoods are located in the ALA’s proposal