Thank you for meeting me here under this lamppost at 3:30PM, and welcome to my hometown’s walking tour. As most of you know, our town is famous because – for a 22-hour period of time – our nation’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, stayed here. Yep, that’s what we’re known for. Nothing else. No matter what a certain HBO documentary might lay out in graphic detail. Anyway, let’s get started!
The first stop on the tour is actually right around the corner from this YMCA. In the parking lot, you will see a sign that says “Lincoln Slept Here” – but don’t worry, he slept in a house! We did, however, demolish the house. We needed the extra parking space so everyone could attend the weekly self-defense classes. It’s what Lincoln would have wanted (it’s also what our town mandated after the disappearances began).
If you look to your left, you’ll see where the town infirmary used to be. During his visit, Lincoln got a couple stitches in his left hand there after a stray dog bit him. Now it’s a sports bar. They’ve got a great patio, but if I were you I’d opt for a seat inside. We haven’t quite kicked the stray dog problem. Although, people in this town know there are far more sinister things in this world than stray dogs.
Anyhoo, up ahead is where the Appellate court house once stood. As you can see, it is now a CVS. But before it was a CVS, it was a Blockbuster. You know who once visited that Blockbuster? Emma Stone! More like La La Land of Lincoln, am I right? And you know who worked in that Blockbuster? The same guy who committed all those gruesome – whoops, sorry about that, accidentally reverted to the old script.
Real quick, this isn’t part of the tour, but I lost my car keys here last week, so can you all please keep your eyes peeled for a Honda CRV fob? It’s brown and has a key chain on it that says “In My Town, Every Car’s a Lincoln.” It’s a play on our old town slogan, “In My Town, Everyone’s a Suspect.”
Now this stop is one of my favorites. In addition to being the location where “you know who” (and I’m not talking about Lincoln), would leave trophies of his victims, the “Lincoln” Memorial Bench marks the spot of the former local watering hole. According to documents, a brothel was run out the back and people were known to have sex on the balcony in plain sight. Today it sits outside of a CVS. We’re very lucky to have two CVS’s.
On your left, you’ll notice a dark and scary alleyway. Follow me! See that brick wall? Based on courtroom sketches, we can confidently say this is where Lincoln was bit by the dog. I hate that I have to say this on all the tours, but please stop tagging it. The bricks are very old and power washing “the true killer still lives” off them every two weeks is causing them to rapidly erode.
Well, here we are: the town square. This is the final stop on our tour, and the culmination of Lincoln’s visit to our town. Here, Abraham Lincoln gave a rousing stump speech ahead of his travels to Gettysburg. As you know, Lincoln is famous for his superior oratory skills. While most of his words from that day were sadly lost to time, one line remains undisputed: “I have chosen my next victim. You will mourn him half as much as you will fear me.” Hey, which one of you pranksters wrote in my notebook? That’s not what Lincoln said. What he really said was: “I want that dog that bit me dealt with.”
And that’s it! Thank you for visiting our lovely town and coming on this tour. As you go out into the world, I hope you think of us as a place forever tied to the history of the great Abraham Lincoln, and not – as we were formerly known – “Bludgeonsburg, the location of the horrific 1988 Summer of Bludgeonings.”
Madeline is a writer based in New York with her collie, Oskar.