Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park | PARK AT A GLANCE

Memorial Building at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park

Memorial Building at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park


Located in Hodgenville, Kentucky, the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park preserves the site where Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, though nothing remains of his original home or any other aspect of his early life. The focus of the park is on Lincoln’s ancestry and childhood years. In fact, you will learn more about his parents and the type of cabin he lived in than the man himself, and nothing of his years as an adult. The park is essentially a place where visitors can come just to say they stood on the ground where Lincoln was born. As a testament to his popularity, the park gets nearly 250,000 visitors each year, and it’s located in the middle of nowhere. Any other park in such a rural area would be lucky to get 50,000 visitors in a year.

There are two sections to the park: Sinking Spring Farm, the place where Lincoln was born and lived until he was a little over two years old, and Knob Creek, the farm that the Lincolns moved to in 1811. Lincoln wrote that he had no memories of his birthplace at Sinking Spring, a farm his father, Thomas, had purchased in 1808. Unfortunately, due to a land dispute the family was forced to move. They ended up leasing land at Knob Creek, about eight miles northeast of the birth site. It is here that Abraham would live until he was seven years old. As bad luck would have it, in 1816 another land dispute forced the owner of Knob Creek off the land, and all tenants were evicted. Tired of Kentucky land surveying and not happy that it was a slave state, the Lincolns moved north to Indiana.

Sinking Spring Farm is the main and most popular section of the park. Located here is a Visitor Center where you can pick up park information, browse through a small museum, and watch a short film about the birth site and the creation of the park. There are also two trails on the property and a picnic area, but the centerpiece is what can be called the original Lincoln Memorial, the neoclassical-styled Memorial Building that marks the approximate location of where Lincolns’ birth cabin once stood. Abraham stated that his parents told him he was born on the knoll overlooking Sinking Spring. The spring is easily identifiable, so the hill above it is certainly where he was born, though whether the memorial sits on the exact foundation cannot be determined with certainty.

The Memorial Building was constructed between 1909 and 1911 and run as a private memorial until 1916, when the land was donated to the United States government (it wasn’t turned over to the National Park Service until 1933). Inside is a cabin that was once presented as the original Lincoln cabin, but it has since been proven to have no connection to the family and now serves only as a reminder of the type of home that Abraham was born in.

As is the case at Sinking Spring Farm, nothing remains from the Lincolns’ stay at Knob Creek. Visitors will find an old tavern that is no longer in service and the cabin of Abraham’s boyhood friend, Austin Gollaher. A one-way, 1.5-mile trail leads up to the top of a small mountain where you can get a view of the Knob Creek valley. Unless you want to hike the trail or simply must set foot on the place where Lincoln grew up, there’s not much reason to make the trip from the birth site. Knob Creek remained in private hands until becoming part of the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site—the name at the time—in 2001. Since the park now had two sites, the name was changed to Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in 2009.


The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace unit of the park is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. This includes the Visitor Center, Memorial Building, and park grounds. The only exception is when the park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

The grounds of the Knob Creek unit are open year-round during daylight hours. The restroom building is open from spring through fall, and a Ranger Station is sometimes staffed in the summer.

Times can always change, so before making travel plans be sure to get the latest schedule at the official Operating Hours and Seasons web page for Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park.


There are no fees to enter Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park.


Visitor Center
allow 30 minutes

Memorial Building and grounds
allow 30 minutes

Knob Creek
allow 15 minutes

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Last updated on March 9, 2020
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