Luckily we can remember the heroes of past times via community preservation. This is the case of Lew Wallace, whose work is commemorated in Crawfordsville, Indiana, at The General Lew Wallace Study & Museum. Here we can learn more about a man who accomplished much during his life of 77 years.
Today Lew Wallace is primarily known as the author of Ben Hur, which was first published in 1880 and has remained in print ever since. But that his work as an author was only part of a remarkable life.
He was the youngest man to hold the rank of Major General during the Civil War. One of his greatest achievements at this time was saving Washington D.C. by holding off Confederate troops at the battle of Monocacy in Maryland. After the war, Wallace served as one of the judges in the trials of the conspirators involved in the Lincoln assassination and of the Andersonville prison’s commander Henry Wirz. Later he served as Territorial Governor of New Mexico. After publication of Ben Hur, which demonstrated his intense research in the Middle East, he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.
His writing repertoire also includes The Fair God and The Prince of India. To facilitate his writing and contemplations, Wallace built his study in which he could “grow reminiscent, fighting the battles of youth over again.” Inside Wallace built an impressive library with comfortable space for his own writing and reading pleasure.
After his death in 1905, the Wallace family opened the study to the public. Today the space contains some of his personal belongings and books—all designed to illustrate the life of an American Renaissance man.
The museum and study are located on 3.5 acres at 200 Wallace Avenue, Crawfordsville. Admission is $5 for adults, $1 for students and free for children six and under. It is open February through mid-December, Tues. through Sat., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
I invite you to take this back roads trip.
For more information on Indiana rides & drives, follow this link.