A life-size bronze statue of
Abraham Lincoln and his family will be the highlight of
a series of 20 outdoor exhibits depicting Lincoln’s life
in Springfield that will soon decorate downtown.
The exhibits are part of a new program called “Here I
Have Lived,” which is designed to better explain
Lincoln’s everyday life during his nearly 25 years in
“This is a wonderful new addition that will depict
Lincoln’s life and the life of his family in
Springfield,” Mayor Karen Hasara announced Monday. “It
will bring our community into the life of Lincoln.”
The focal point of “Here I Have Lived” - the title
comes from Lincoln’s farewell speech when he left
Springfield to assume the presidency - will be the
statue of Lincoln, his wife Mary and their sons Robert
and Willie that will be placed on the Old Capitol Plaza.
It will depict a typical family scene, with Lincoln,
on his way to the Capitol to make a speech, pausing
while Mary adjusts his tie, Willie hangs from his
coattails, and Robert stands nearby.
Although the contract has not yet been approved by
City Council, Nicky Stratton, director of the city's
Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the sculpture is
expected to be done by Larry Anderson, an artist from
near Seattle who specializes in realistic bronzes.
The other exhibits will be a series of display boards
or plaques supported by steel frames that will each tell
some aspect of the story of Lincoln and his family in
The boards will vary from about 4 feet by 1 foot to
about 6 feet by 2 feet. Some will be displayed
vertically, and some horizontally. Some will be attached
to light posts or sign posts, while others will have
their own supports.
Each will tell a part of the story of the Lincolns in
Springfield, and each will have a component explaining
something about what the community was like when the
Lincolns lived here.
Each display will also have a metal medallion with a
scene on it in relief tied to the story told. Visitors,
especially children, will be able to do rubbings of the
medallions and create an entire collection of artwork
related to "Here I Have Lived."
Among the sites and stories the exhibits will
illuminate are Lincoln's first law office at 109 N.
Fifth St.; the site of an 1860 meeting at Sixth and
Monroe streets where Republican Party members met in
"wigwams" made of wood and canvas; the Globe Tavern on
the north side of Adams Street between Third and Fourth
streets, where the Lincolns lived when they were first
married; and the barbershop of William "Billy the
Barber" Florville, on the north side of Adams Street
between Sixth and Seventh streets, where Lincoln spent
much time visiting with friends and cronies.
In some cases, the exhibits will feature surviving
historical structures, while in others they will restore
a semblance of buildings and other sites that were
destroyed long ago.
Historical research for the exhibits was done by Dick
Hart, a Springfield attorney and amateur historian who
has done extensive research on Lincoln-era Springfield.
Bryan Andreasen, a historian with the Illinois Historic
Preservation Agency, used Hart's work and other
resources to write the story for each exhibit.
The exhibits were designed by the St. Louis firm of
Peckham, Guyton, Albers & Viets Inc., which has
designed exhibits for clients including Lincoln's New
Salem State Historic Site, the Gateway Arch National
Historic Site, Sea World, Busch Gardens, Chicago's
Museum of Science & Industry and the St. Louis Zoo.
Stratton said the displays will be built of steel and
a resin-based material to resist rust, weathering,
graffiti and other damage.
The exhibits will be erected by spring, Hasara said,
while the statue of the Lincolns is expected to be
completed in 2004.
Maynard Crossland, director of the Illinois Historic
Preservation Agency, said "Here I Have Lived" will
complement the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and
Museum now under construction.
The program will "take the story beyond the walls of
the museum," he said.
Most of the $769,000 cost of the program is being
paid through a $506,000 "travel enhancement" grant from
the Illinois Department of Transportation
"Here I Have Lived" could be expanded if additional
funding becomes available, Stratton said. Researchers
have identified more than 50 sites suitable for
interpretation through the program, she said.
Doug Pokorski can be reached at 788-1539 or