Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site, located about two miles South of Petersburg and about 20 miles Northwest of Springfield, is a reconstruction of the village where Abraham Lincoln spent his early adulthood. The six years Lincoln spent in New Salem was pivotal to his career. Although he never owned a home there, Lincoln was engaged in a variety of activities while he was at New Salem. He clerked in a store, split rails, enlisted in the Black Hawk War, served as postmaster and deputy surveyor, failed in business, and was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1834 and 1836 after an unsuccessful try in 1832.
Twelve log houses, the Rutledge Tavern, ten workshops, stores, mills and a school where church services were held have been reproduced and furnished as they might have been in the 1830s. The furnishings, including many articles actually used by the New Salem people of Lincoln's time and others dating back to the same time period, were assembled and donated to the state by the Old Salem Lincoln League. The collection includes such early-nineteenth-century articles as wheat cradles, candle molds, cord beds, flax hackles, wood cards, dough and cornmeal chests and early American pewter.