Kentucky Heritage Council
KY Lincoln Heritage Trail Passport Program contest entries log visitors from across the nation
First monthly prize winner from Pensacola
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Karon Noll of Pensacola, Florida is the first winner of the monthly prize drawing for travelers who collect passport stamps from at least 10 sites along the new Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail, which features 16 Kentucky museums and historic places important in the life of President Abraham Lincoln. Entries for the first passport prize drawing came from Kentucky, Indiana, Arizona and California as well as Florida.
The Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail Passport Program was introduced earlier this summer as an incentive to travelers following the trail through central Kentucky. Beginning this month, prize drawings will take place on the 12th of each month through February 12, 2009, the actual bicentennial of President Lincoln's birth. On that day all registrants will be entered into the grand prize drawing which will include a stay at a Kentucky state park. The July drawing was conducted last week at the quarterly meeting of the Kentucky Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission in Frankfort by Retired Army Col. Arthur L. Kelly, father of State Senator Dan Kelly of Springfield. Sen. Kelly is co-chair of the Kentucky commission.
Noll and her husband live and travel in their recreational vehicle and learned about the Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail passport initiative while camping at My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown. There, she said, one of the volunteers at the park told her about the trail, "and she was just so informative and so excited about it and I thought 'well yes, we could do that.' Then it became a challenge. Every day we would get out the map to map a route for the day and try to include at least one of the sites."
Noll said she and her husband were on a leisurely drive up to Maine when they came through Kentucky, where they had no plans to travel, "but we just found it charming," she said. "And the whole idea of learning more about Lincoln was fascinating to us... We have always associated Lincoln with Illinois, so we wondered how it was that Kentucky was claiming him?"
Development of the trail is just one of many Kentucky Lincoln Bicentennial Commission initiatives intended to remind the rest of the nation that Lincoln was, first and foremost, a Kentuckian. This message resonated loudly with Noll. "We knew Lincoln was born here but we thought he went to Springfield (Illinois) much, much earlier in his life" than age seven, she said.
Seems all the attention to the bicentennial and Lincoln's Kentucky connection is paying off. As the Kentucky Lincoln Bicentennial Commission reported earlier this month, nine signature Kentucky Lincoln museums and historic sites reported more than 159,000 visitors for the first six months of 2008, an 18.1% increase over 2007.
Noll won a gift basket of Lincoln merchandise donated by the Kentucky Historical Society, including a bicentennial T-shirt and fleece jacket, commemorative mugs, and historian Lowell H. Harrison's book Lincoln of Kentucky. As for winning, she said, "It’s terrific! We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and all the sites. We found it extremely interesting and learned a lot."
The Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail Passport Program is designed to encourage travelers to make Kentucky and the heritage trail their destination. The new trail is an update and more historically accurate re-interpretation of the original Lincoln Heritage Trail created in 1963 through Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. The updated trail is a project of the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office in partnership with the Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, Kentucky Department of Travel and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
Travelers interested in the trail can obtain a trail map at any of the sites or from the Kentucky Department of Travel, www.kytourism.com. Visit any Lincoln site and receive a customized stamp on the map from that site. Once 10 stamps from any 10 sites are accumulated, present the passport at any site to register for a chance to enter the free prize drawing. Best of all, visitors to any Lincoln site will receive a free window cling for their car or home.
"We are thrilled with the level of interest in the Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail and the tremendous popularity of the passport program, which we believe is further helping to drive traffic to all the Lincoln sites," said Donna M. Neary, Heritage Council executive director and state historic preservation officer. "We have a lot of great prizes lined up through the rest of the year and look forward to having an exciting grand prize drawing next February."
Lincoln Trail sites are:
- Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate and the Mary Todd Lincoln House, Lexington
- Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park, Jessamine County
- Downtown Springfield (stamp site Opera House) and Lincoln Homestead State Park, Washington County
- Farmington Historic Plantation, Louisville
- Hardin County Museum, Elizabethtown
- Jefferson Davis State Historic Site, Fairview
- The Kentucky Historical Society and Kentucky State Capitol Rotunda, Frankfort
- Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site, Lincoln Boyhood Home and the Lincoln Museum, Hodgenville
- Lincoln Marriage Temple, Harrodsburg
- Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, Boyle County
- White Hall State Historic Site, Richmond
The Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail Passport Program coincides with the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet's Discover Your Own Backyard promotion encouraging Kentuckians to visit unique destinations close to home. For more, see www.mykentuckybackyard.com. More information about each of the Lincoln Heritage Trail sites and nearby places of interest is available at www.kylincolntrail.com.
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An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of prehistoric resources and historic buildings, sites and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens. This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life. www.heritage.ky.gov
Donna M. Neary and Retired Army Col. Arthur L. Kelly