The evening offered a first view of what the Lincoln statue will
look like. Sculptor David Seagraves traveled to Lincoln from his
home in Elizabeth, in northwest Illinois, with an 18-inch tall scale
Seagraves is well known in Lincoln. He helped repair the Indian
mother statue that sits on the courthouse lawn, and he was the
sculptor of the Civil War soldier that stands atop the obelisk on
the Broadway and South Kickapoo side of the courthouse.
This latest project is to create a life-size statue of Abraham
Lincoln to commemorate his visit to his namesake town on Oct. 16,
1858. Lincoln was then campaigning for the United States Senate.
Seagraves brought his one-quarter-scale model so that members of
the public could see what the finished statue will look like. The
full-size statue will be constructed of bronze.
The scale model, which will be on display at 114 N. Chicago, is
of man-made clay with a metal internal frame. When the full-size
statue is completed, it will be sited on the courthouse square, near
the intersection of Pulaski and South Kickapoo streets.
Seagraves sculpted the scale model using a print that shows the
event. "The larger one will have more detail," he said.
While members of the public, Lincoln Mayor Keith Snyder and the
Abraham Lincoln Statue Committee looked on, Seagraves made tiny
adjustments to the statue, which had just endured a 150-mile trip by
car. The clay was still very pliable and the statue had been jostled
during the trip. Seagraves wanted to ensure this unveiling was
When he is ready to start on the full-size rendering, he first
will construct an aluminum frame onto which he will mold the
clay-like substance he used on the scale model. With the statue in a
standing position, illuminated by lights that create a shadow-free
environment, Seagraves will go to work creating this work of art.
The sculptor wants his finished piece to be so detailed and dynamic
that one technique he uses is to dress a manikin in clothes similar
to what Lincoln would have worn. This will allow him to see the
drape of the clothing so that he can create the folds and creases to
perfection on the finished statue.
When Seagraves is finished with the clay statue, it will be
shipped to a foundry in Mount Morris for the final casting in
bronze, an alloy made mostly of copper and silicon metal.
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Seagraves grimaced when he described the process of casting it.
"They will cut my work into pieces to make the mold for the bronze
casting," he said. "They can't do it with the statue in one piece."
After the individual parts of the statue are cast, the final
assembly can begin. Some welding will be required, but the signs of
welding will be removed so that the statue will appear seamless.
When finished, a process taking at least two months, it will weigh
approximately 500 pounds. The final step will be to apply a patina
to the statue to give it the correct color.
The Abraham Lincoln Statue Committee is hard at work raising the
$48,000 needed for this project.
Bill Donath, president of the Logan County Genealogical &
Historical Society, has applied for three grants.
Members of the committee are speaking at local service
organizations. They have worked as servers at Culver's to raise
money. Area schools have been contacted and asked for help.
All of the mayors of Logan County communities have been contacted
in order to make this a countywide project.
The committee welcomes donations of any amount. "We don't care if
it is a dollar," Roger Matson explained. "We want people to feel
they are a part of history."
In 1853, the town of Lincoln was founded and given its name, the
name of one of the founding partners, who later would be called Mr.
In 1858 while campaigning for the Senate, Abraham Lincoln stopped
by to speak from the Logan County Courthouse steps to thousands of
Logan County residents. Many of those attending had to travel for
hours on barely passable roads to get to Lincoln to hear him. This
historic moment in the history of the town of Lincoln will be
captured for all time, thanks to the dedication and hard work of the
Abraham Lincoln Statue Committee, and the genius of sculptor David
[By CURT FOX]