Chicago’s storied Lincoln Park named for the country’s 16th president also boasts a significant statue of the man. Unlike the seated memorial figure located in Washington D.C. and found on the back of a penny, this 12-foot bronze constructed by Irish-immigrant sculpturist Augustus Saint-Gaudens stands tall. Constructed in 1887, 22 years after the Civil War leader’s death, it also predates the completion of D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial by 35 years. The work, titled ‘Abraham Lincoln: The Man,’ was heralded by the New York Evening Post as “the most important achievement American sculpture has yet produced,” after its unveiling.
The statue is located in the south side of the 1,208-acre park, behind the Chicago History Museum. The statue can easily be visited on a walking or biking tour of the park that includes other popular park stops such as the North Avenue Beach, Lincoln Park Zoo and the Lincoln Park Conservatory.
In addition to identifying a similarly-built 6-foot, 4-inch tall man to serve as a model, molds of Lincoln’s own face and hands, taken while he was alive, were used to recreate the lifelike figure. Lincoln stands fronting an eagle-emblazoned chair with a pensive gaze cast downward from his perch atop a granite pedestal. The statue is surrounded by a stepped, half-moon exedra – built by noteworthy architect Stanford White and his team – with several of his more famous quotes etched into its walls. Replicas of this statue can be found in London’s Parliament Square and in Mexico City.
The fastest park entries to access the statue are from North Clark Street on either side of the Chicago History Museum, or via any of the three entrances on W. North Boulevard. Official park hours are from 6 a.m. til 11 p.m. daily.