In 1829, eleven years after Illinois became the twenty-first state, New Salem was founded on a bluff above the Sangamon River. The village provided an essential sanctuary for a friendless, penniless boy named Abraham Lincoln, whose six years there shaped his education and nurtured his ambition. Eclipsed by the neighboring settlement of Petersburg, New Salem had dwindled into a ghost town by 1840. However, it reemerged in the early part of the twentieth century as one of the most successful preservation efforts in American history. Author Joseph Di Cola relates the full story of New Salem's fascinating heritage.