Illinois may claim Abraham Lincoln as their own, but they forget that Lincoln’s formative years were spent here in southern Indiana. You can’t have the man without first raising the boy, so Indiana has more than a threadbare claim to the 16th president.
Spencer County, Indiana is unveiling a new monument in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s youth spent in the Hoosier state on Friday, June 12, in Lincoln State Park. The dedication ceremony will launch a day of celebration and family fun that includes music, activities, period demonstrations and the world premiere of LINCOLN, a new play about man who ended slavery in this country.
The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Plaza dedication ceremony is open to the public. It starts at 11:30 am, Eastern Time. But show up early, because admission to the state park is free before 11:30. Admission is normally $5 per carload.
At the ceremony, you’ll be able to enjoy Civil War-era music by a brass quintet from the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, a performance by the Evansville Children’s Choir, President Lincoln’s second inaugural performed by a LINCOLN cast member, and speeches from Secretary of State Todd Rokita and the artist and designer who created the work of art.
“This work of art highlights the impact of Lincoln’s early life in Indiana on his presidency,” said Connie Nass, chair of the Indiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. “It totally engages you, you actually interact with the art. It is more than a statue. It is an educational, meaningful and moving experience for all ages. It is a classroom in the round.”
A variety of free events are available at Lincoln State Park on June 12.
- 10:30 a.m. – Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Plaza dedication ceremony
- 11:30 a.m. – Lincoln neighborhood walk
- 11:45 a.m. – A talk with the plaza’s artist and designer
- 1 p.m. – Backstage tour of the Lincoln Amphitheatre and set of LINCOLN
- 3 p.m. – Tour of the Colonel William Jones home
“There will be no better day for Lincoln enthusiasts to visit Lincoln State Park,” said Nass. “The plaza unveiling, the premier of the theatrical experience and all kinds of activities in between will be fun and education for all ages.”
Food and drinks will be available, as well as parking. There will also be van and bus transportation for people with mobility issues. Seating will be limited for the dedication and unveiling ceremony, so be sure to bring lawn chairs or blankets.
The new “LINCOLN” theatrical experience include an Amish family-style meal, children’s pioneer games, artisan demonstrations, the Lincoln exhibit, and free unlimited soft drinks and popcorn during intermission. Meals will be served beginning at 6:30 p.m. EDT, and the show starts at 8:30 p.m. EDT. Presidential Section ticket prices are $42.95 for adults, $40.95 for seniors, $38.95 for age 7 to 21, and free for age 6 and under. RailSplitter section ticket prices are $39.95 for adults, $37.95 for seniors, and $35.95 for age 7 to 21. You can buy your tickets and find more information at the Lincoln Amphiteathre website.
The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and Pioneer Living Farm will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the national park, which is across Highway 162 from the state park.
The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Plaza consists of a large, bisected circular plaza. Visitors will first enter an area punctuated with limestone pedestals and interpretive signs signifying key milestones in Lincoln’s formative Indiana years between ages seven and 21.
A central half-circle educates visitors of young Abraham’s growth from a boy to a man. Visitors can move freely between the pedestals. The second semicircle provides a more intimate space for reflecting upon the man who led this nation through its darkest days, and includes a bronze bust more than twice as big as the man himself, and some of his inspirational quotes that we remember even today.