Monday, December 15, 2008

Keepin’ on keepin’ up with Lincoln news

It’s no secret to those who know me that I am a relic of the sixties – not Lincoln’s dismal 1860s, but the 1960s – a freaky, funky, frightening time. We had lots of fun phrases back then, and one of my favorites is “Keep on keepin’ on.” I’d like to twist the phrase a bit today.

Lately, there has been so much Lincoln news that it’s hard to “keep on keepin’ up” with it all.

I actually have a calendar of potential blog topics – things I’ve covered briefly and want to share with you more in depth, books I want to tell you about, people I want you to meet. Yet, recently, there seems to be a lot of Lincoln-related news every day – some of which appears on all the news pages and some which is more obscure.

Today, I want to draw your attention to three things – birthday cards for President Lincoln, a gift which may keep the Vandalia Statehouse open and a Bloomington (Ill.) home with Lincoln connections, which will have a new life.

Show your imagination – send a card
Who can forget the fun we had as children creating our own special birthday, Valentine or holiday cards and seeing the delight on another’s face when we presented our hand-crafted offering. Now, you can relive that pleasure by creating your own special handmade card for the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth. Just think, when will you ever have another chance to give someone a card celebrating their 200th birthday?

The Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission is having a card shower for Lincoln, so join in the fun. For more information see The State Journal-Register’s article.

New hope for Lincoln’s first legislative home
Although the Illinois state capital is now Springfield, it wasn’t always that way. In fact, it’s thanks to Lincoln and the other tall Sangamon County men known as the Long Nine that the capital was moved from its earlier home in Vandalia to its current more central location. Those who are familiar with Lincoln lore will most likely remember the Vandalia Statehouse for the tale of Lincoln jumping out the window to try to prevent a quorum.

The Statehouse is one of the historic sites closed under Governor Rod Blagojevich’s regime. Now, thanks to an anonymous donation from a Vandalia resident, pending state approval it appears the site may have a prolonged life. More on this story, too, in The State Journal-Register.

Couple to breathe new life into Lincoln-era home
Those familiar with Lincoln and his Bloomington (Ill.) connections know well his connection with Judge David Davis, but Lincoln’s McLean County acquaintances don’t stop there. If I were to say “speculator, investor, banker, millionaire, old grouch,” would you know which mid-19th century Bloomington resident I was describing? Try Asahel Gridley. The home he moved into on Lincoln’s inauguration day in March 1861 recently sold, and the couple who purchased it plans to rehabilitate the deteriorating building. Read more about the effort, the building and Gridley in The Pantagraph stories.

Watch C-SPAN White House programming
Don’t forget to watch C-SPAN’s superb White House programming this week. We’re trying to watch every night, but if you’re a Lincoln buff and can watch only one night, be sure it’s Thursday, Dec. 18. That’s when the Lincoln White House will be featured.

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