(MCT) — LINCOLN — A Logan County group is hoping to raise $48,000 to place a bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln on the Logan County Courthouse lawn in Lincoln to commemorate an 1858 speech that was re-enacted five years ago.
Bill Donath, president of the Logan County Genealogical and Historical Society, said the Abraham Lincoln Statue Committee was formed following the dedication of a Logan County Civil War statue in 2011. At that time, a volunteer committee of local historians raised $50,000 to create a new statue after an original was toppled in a December 2008 storm.
“We’re really just getting started with the fundraising and getting the message out about what we are trying to accomplish with this (Lincoln) statue,” Donath said.
Donath said the statue would honor a speech given by Lincoln on the courthouse lawn on Oct. 16, 1858, one day after the last of the famous Lincoln-Douglas senatorial debates in Alton. That speech was re-enacted in Lincoln on Oct. 16, 2008, drawing more than 1,500 people.
“It was at that time we decided that we needed a statue to emphasize the historical significance of that speech,” said committee co-Chairman Roger Matson. “It was before he was president and the city of Lincoln had only been a city for a few years. It was really a monumental event in our history and needs to be recognized as such.”
“We believe that we should be saving those pieces of history that are exceptional and valuable to our town’s history,” Donath said. “It just makes sense to us.”
The committee plans to commission David Seagraves of Elizabeth, the same artist who did the Civil War soldier statue, to create the Lincoln statue.
“We agreed 100 percent that we wanted him because he does such a great job,” Matson said.
The committee anticipates the statue would cost $45,000. Another $3,000 would go toward a dedication ceremony and a sign that would tell the story of the speech, Donath said.
Several fundraising projects are expected to be announced in the near future. One, which is already under way through Main Street Lincoln, gives a print of a painting of the speech to anyone who donates at least $100.
To aid in the fundraising efforts, an 18-inch model of the statue is expected to be unveiled by committee members next week.
“That will be an exciting tool we can use so potential donors have a real idea of what we are trying to accomplish,” Donath said.
Donations may be dropped off or mailed to the Logan County Genealogical and Historical Society, 114 N. Chicago St., Lincoln, IL 62656.