Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Land of Lincoln - Lincoln's Home - 2

My Land of Lincoln posts were inspired by our April visit to Springfield, Illinois. Previous posts showed you Abraham Lincoln's permanent tomb and his first temporary tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery. We began the 3-part tour of Abraham Lincoln's home in a post last week that talked about the visitor center and his neighborhood.

We then entered Abraham Lincoln's home through the front door and saw the front hall/foyer, the parlor to the left, and the dining room. We'll pick up the tour today by beginning in the sitting room.

The sitting room is to your right as you enter the front door and can also be accessed from the dining room. The sitting room is where the boys played and the Lincoln family spent the majority of their family time. Here is a sketch showing how the sitting room appeared in early 1861.

The 1860's sketches helped to determine how the Lincoln home looked at the time they lived there. Some color choices may be considered a bit loud today, but Mary Lincoln's decor was fashionable in the mid-1800's - certainly not extravagant, however.

Although there are some items in the home documented as to have actually belonged to the family, most of the furnishings did not. When Abraham & Mary Lincoln moved to the White House, some of their household furnishings were given away, but most were sold at a private sale. The family who then rented the Lincoln home purchased several of their furniture pieces and took those items with them when they later moved to Chicago - only to be lost in the great Chicago fire of 1871.

Care has been taken to use period antiques and to replicate the Lincoln furnishings where possible. The original carpeting, window treatments and wallpaper no longer exist. Some window treatments and wallpaper you see in the home are replicas of the originals. Some are not reproductions, but are faithful to the period.

Did you notice the toy drum on the table in the last photo? The home is decorated for Christmas in December, and Lincoln family birthdays are also marked. The day following our visit would have been the birthday of Thomas "Tad" Lincoln - the youngest son of Abraham & Mary Lincoln. The drum represents a birthday gift Tad could have been given in 1860.

Oops! Here's another crooked candle that I really wanted to straighten!

None of the furniture in the sitting room looks very comfortable - especially for someone of Abraham Lincoln's height. No wonder he often chose to sit on the floor in this room.

The tour now heads upstairs via the staircase in the foyer.

At the top of the steps, there's a small sitting area in front of you, and the guest room is on your left.

The guest room is a large, comfortable room with green & white wallpaper and green blinds at the windows.

Their overnight guests had their own washstand and chamber pot.

That's Mary Lincoln's actual shawl on the fainting couch. The shawl makes seasonal appearances in the home.

Let's head across the hall into Abraham Lincoln's bedroom. The wallpaper in this room is an accurate reproduction. I zoomed in closely, as the beautiful blue is difficult to see in wider shots.

The next 3 items are said to have belonged to Mr. Lincoln - this wardrobe,

this bureau,

and this small desk in the corner.

Unfortunately, this isn't Abraham Lincoln's original bed,

but they believe this was his shaving mirror.

Here's a look back to the front of the room. You can see the small sitting area in the hallway.

Mary Lincoln's room adjoins her husband's room and has the same wallpaper.

Abraham & Mary Lincoln did not always have separate bedrooms. Separate bedrooms were a luxury one would acquire as finances made it possible.

The younger boys would sleep in their mother's room in a trundle bed until oldest son, Robert, moved out to further his education.

Our guide told us that Mary Lincoln would be horrified to know that tourists were making inquires about her chamber pot. Yes, I was the one who asked about it! This is a pretty great chamber pot, though. Don't you think?

Mary Lincoln suffered from migraine headaches, so I'm sure she often retreated to this pleasant, darkened room when she was feeling ill.

That concludes the second part of my Lincoln home tour. We'll see the rest of the upstairs, head back down to the kitchen, and out to the backyard in the final installment in this series.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Spectacular Sunsets

I've shared many sunset photos with you here on the blog - especially as Sunday Reflections photos. The vast majority of those photos have been shots of sunsets over Lake Superior. We had 2 especially beautiful sunset nights last week, and today's photos were all taken from our patio doors in the great room - showing the sun setting in back of the trees in our woods.

Wasn't that orange sky incredible? Just before that, it looked like this.

And this.

It's amazing how quickly it can go from one color to another.

Who needs TV? 

That's all for today. I'll be back sometime on Wednesday with part 2 of Abraham Lincoln's home in Springfield, IL.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Patriotic Peek

It's Flag Day! Hope you're flying your flag!

In honor of the spirit of patriotism I'm feeling today, I thought it would be a good day to show you a peek at some of my summer patriotic decor. First up, I restyled the crates on the wall in our dining area.

That's a placemat from Dollar Tree serving as the background in the lower crate - just taped in place. I pulled an old plate out of the china cabinet for the background in the top crate, and I used my Patriotic Checkered Birdhouse here this year.

The candle is just one of those emergency candles from Dollar Tree with red, silver & blue Dollar Tree necklaces (3/$1) wrapped around it.

I have a fluffy yarn wreath on the wall in the laundry room. I removed the spring butterflies I had on it and hung a USA sign over it for a quick update. Can't get much simpler than that!

See you with part 2 of the tour of Abraham Lincoln's home soon!

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Land of Lincoln - Lincoln's Home - 1

We spent a day in Springfield, Illinois, on our way to Florida at the beginning of April, and I've already shared 2 posts about Abraham Lincoln's permanent tomb and his first tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery. I didn't want to continue posting about our journey without also sharing a tour of his Springfield home. Since I have many photos to share, I'll divide his home tour into 3 parts. This will be the longest post of the 3, so let's get started.

President Lincoln's home is a national historic site - part of our National Park System. The main parking area is located next to the very nice visitor center. There's a nominal fee to park, but the visitor center, the film about his life, and the home tour are all free of charge. Here's one of the first signs you'll see at the visitor center. This will tell you most of what you need to know when visiting the site.

As you enter the visitor center, there's a large photo of the "Great Republican Rally at Lincoln's Home" on August 8, 1860. Lincoln is the tall figure in white just to the right of the front door.

You'll need to inquire at the desk inside the visitor center for home tour tickets. Based on when the next tour is available, you can choose to watch the film on Lincoln's life in the theater inside the visitor center either before or after your home tour. I do recommend the film, as it does contain some tidbits on his life that the average visitor may not already know. At the end of your trip, be sure to save enough time to browse the bookstore/gift shop in the visitor center. They have a large selection of books on Lincoln and the Civil War - many at very affordable prices. I picked up 2 books I didn't already have and also found a souvenir Christmas ornament for the Christmas tree we put in our loft that we call our "Memory Tree."

It's a one-block walk from the visitor center to Lincoln's home. This is the only home Abraham Lincoln ever owned, and it's where he and Mary lived for 17 years until moving to the White House.

Since all the neighborhood homes have been restored, you can almost transport yourself back in time to 1860 as you walk the sidewalks. Unfortunately, we were in the midst of a day-long downpour, so we didn't walk the entire neighborhood to photograph the other homes. Oh well, we were really here for this one anyway.

Our tour began with the Park Service guide inside the small gray house (the Charles Arnold House - some siding missing) on the corner opposite from the Lincoln home. I believe you meet your guide outside on the corner during better weather.

Since it was April and raining buckets, we were fortunate that only one other couple was taking the tour with us - and big coincidence - they live in lower Michigan and know someone who lives about 5 miles from us in the U.P. It was nice to be in such a small group for our tour, as we were able to ask a lot of questions, and it made the entire experience much more personal.

I should tell you that the home is kept purposely dark, but flash photography is allowed. Between the darkness of the rooms and the light that was coming through the windows, it was sometimes difficult to get quality photos, so you may find the clarity of some photos in this post to be severely lacking. I do apologize for that in advance.

You enter the Lincoln home through the front door. The parlor is on your left; the sitting room is on your right. You'll notice the doorbell above the door to the parlor.

Directly in front of you is a hallway that leads to the dining room. That coat/hat rack is original to the Lincoln home.

Here's the view from the dining room looking back toward the front door to give you a better idea of the layout. Notice the staircase leading to the second floor. Yes, the hallway is blocked to visitor traffic with a railing at both ends.

You'll find railings to guide you throughout the home - making it impossible to sit on the furniture or touch the items on the fireplace mantels!

OK, let's go back to the front door and turn left to go into the parlor. Here's a sketch made in 1861 of how the front parlor looked at that time.

The parlor is a long room running the length of the left side of the main part of the house. We were standing in the front parlor looking toward the rear parlor for the next photo. Notice the folding doors? There's a matching set on the right. The Lincoln family could close these doors to create two rooms out of one - often for socializing separately. For example, the men could be at one end discussing politics, and the ladies could be at the other end discussing anything ladies in polite society would discuss. The front parlor was considered a more formal space.

More views of the front parlor:

George and Martha Washington are hanging above the mantel.

Gold cornices at the windows.

Next is a sketch of how the rear parlor looked in 1861. The large bookcase on the right is not there today in order to create the walkway for tourists through the room. Abraham Lincoln often used this rear portion of the parlor as a study.

Notice there are 2 fireplaces in this long parlor, so each section of the parlor had a heat source. The carpeting, wallpaper, and window treatments are consistent to both parts of the parlor.

More views of the rear parlor:

The rear parlor has a door leading into the dining room. I stopped to take one last photo looking toward the front parlor from the dining room door. This is probably the worst photo I snapped, but it helps you to see the layout.

As you enter the dining room, the table is in front of you, and there's a sideboard with hutch on the wall to your left.

The small table in the corner near the kitchen door had some faux baked goods - perhaps Mary Lincoln's famous white almond cake recipe. (Could someone please straighten that candle? My perfectionist self wanted to straighten several candles in the home. But. Those. Railings!)

In the next shot, you can see the back staircase leading to the second floor from the kitchen just behind the dining room. To the right of those stairs is a door leading outside to the porch on the right side of the house. There's a closet directly in back of me. To my left rear is the hall leading to the front door, and to my right rear is the door leading into the sitting room.

The sitting room is where we'll go next. As you enter the front door, it's on your right. The sitting room is where the boys played and the Lincoln family spent the majority of their family time. It's where we'll begin the second post in this series on the home of Abraham Lincoln. 

All is well in the Keweenaw.