Historical Society Annual Dinner
Home director to speak
at Madison fundraising event
will talk about
the only home Lincoln owned
Helen E. McKinney
(November 2008) Abraham Lincoln has held a
special place in the minds and hearts of many Americans, for quite some
time, according to Timothy Townsend. With time fast approaching the
200th anniversary of Lincolns birth, Townsend is in high demand
as a speaker on one of his most favorite subjects.
Townsend began working in 1991 as a seasonal park ranger at the Lincoln
Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Ill. He has assumed the
position of historian since 1995.
has been working as
historian of the Lincoln
Home National Historic
Site since 1995.
It is in this role that on Nov. 7 he will present Saving
and Restoring President Lincolns Home and Neighborhood for
the Jefferson County Historical Societys Annual Award Dinner,
held at the Venture Out Business Center in Madison. A social hour will
begin at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. Cost is $25 per person and is
money well spent for an enjoyable evening, said Jefferson County
Historical Society President Joe Carr.
Reservations must be made by Nov. 5 for this event. Catering will be
provided by the Rolling Pin.
There is a lot going on nationally and in Kentucky, Indiana and
Illinois, said Carr in reference to Lincoln Bicentennial events.
We wanted something connected to Lincoln.
Townsend will present the story of the Lincoln Home, family and neighborhood
from the time that the home was constructed on the corner of Fifth and
Adams streets in 1839 until present. He will also discuss the evolution
of the Lincoln neighborhood from the time the Lincolns left for
Washington, its evolution to a modern urban residential and commercial
area, and the current ongoing restoration efforts of the National Park
The importance of the home lies in the fact that Lincoln is so
often viewed as the larger than life statue in the Lincoln Memorial,
that it is hard to imagine him as a regular person, said Townsend.
The Lincoln home provides visitors with a unique opportunity to
gain insight into Abraham Lincoln as a husband, father and neighbor.
The home reveals details into the life of the other members of Lincolns
family: his wife, Mary, and their four sons, Robert, Eddie, Willie and
Tad. Approximately 50 original pieces from the Lincoln era are contained
in the home and include parlor furniture, a book case and bedroom pieces.
This is the only home Lincoln ever owned, said Carr. The
National Parks Service spent millions of dollars refurbishing the home
Lincoln lived in for 17 years of his life.
Lincoln, his wife and young son, Robert, moved into the home in May
1844. It was a one and a half story cottage which they eventually expanded
into two stories. Lincolns story is one of inspiration, said Townsend.
He rose from humble beginnings to the presidency; (had) a humble
and honest character; and a steadfast defense of democracy and faith
in the character of people.
The Lincoln Home lends insight into the issues that divided the nation
and thrust him into the presidency, Townsend said. His life story appeals
to many because he was assassinated at the height of his victories
with the end of the war and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment
The thing that interests Townsend the most about Lincoln is the
way in which Lincoln maintained a humble sense of humor throughout his
life and the way in which he was willing to admit to and learn from
mistakes, he said.
There are about 400 members in the Jefferson County Historical Society,
which began during Lincolns lifetime, in 1850. The society will
display a national traveling exhibit titled, Lincolns Family
Album from April 27 to July 5, 2009.
To reserve for the Annual Dinner, call the Jefferson
County Historical Society at (812) 265-2335.
Back to November 2008