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Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: A Hunt for History

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Visit the sites that shaped the man who would change our nation forever. The Looking for Lincoln Story Trail is a unique and fun way to learn about one our most beloved presidents. It is the only heritage area in the nation devoted to a president.

Abraham Lincoln has strong ties to the state of Illinois and the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition has helped create a way for Americans to get to know the real man with the Looking for Lincoln Story Trail. The coalition was designated by congress to manage the 42-county heritage area. The purpose is to not only bring interesting stories about our 16th president to our awareness but to help develop a deeper understanding of the man and his times before his presidency by understanding the communities where he travelled, worked and lived.

The trail invites people to visit the more than 50 communities in the state of Illinois with stories to share about Lincoln. Using local historians and Lincoln enthusiasts, the coalition was able to help these communities develop exhibits based on their connections to Lincoln. Some locations have just one site while others have 14 or 16. Springfield has 42 sites to visit. The trail encompasses 215 sites in all.

For history buffs or Lincoln devotees, the Looking for Lincoln Story Trail is a dream come true. Families may have a little harder time convincing kids that looking at museums and old buildings is really a good time. Try letting them participate in the Looking for Lincoln History Hunt. This requires a little advance preparation on your part but is well worth the effort. You can print out pages for each site you plan to visit. Each page contains a History Quest with clues. Once they arrive at the site, they have to search for the answers. Each page also contains a picture of a History Mystery Object that they must search for at the site. They get one point for each correct answer to the quest and five points for finding and identifying the mystery object.

Each site also has a rubbing medallion, a raised image called a bas relief. You can also download rubbing templates to take along or just take some plain white paper. Bring a crayon or two make a rubbing at each site as a way to commemorate each of your stops. Each image is different and has bearing on the story told at that site.

Many sites have beautiful photo opportunities. You can also photograph each story board. Along with your rubbings and any notes you take, you will have quit an impressive scrapbook of Looking for Lincoln memories.

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