While there he worked as a shopkeeper, a soldier (Black Hawk War), surveyor, postmaster and at several other jobs. At the time New Salem was a fledgling town of business people and craftsmen wanting to start a new life “out west.” The village is now a state historic site.
I’ve been to New Salem a couple times (since it isn’t that far away). My last time there was for one of my birthday trips (you know, those times Ken and I would wander), but being that my birthday is in February, there weren’t a lot of people around. Wait, I take that back … we were the population of New Salem that cold February morning (1999).
Here’s what I said about it on the day we visited …
Early (6:00) on my birthday we headed south to Springfield. As we drove down I-55, we ate Wheat Thins and listened to Pitcairn Island on CD. The day was dreary with a damp mist in the air. About 9:30 we reached New Salem.
The only people in the visitor’s center were a few workers and some locals standing around discussing someone’s heart attack. We walked around the center and then headed out for the village.
I wished we were better dressed for the cold because it would’ve been fun to take more pictures than I did. After awhile, my fingers got just a little too frozen. But the walk was invigorating and the smell of smoke from a fire added to the atmosphere though we never discovered exactly where the fire was located. We saw a cardinal and a blue jay – not all that unusual or exciting, but they added color to the misty brown and white morning.
We tried to imagine Abe walking down the paths and living in the town.