Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

Kentucky embraces native Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln’s watch courtesy Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History
Eight statues pay homage to Abraham Lincoln in his native Kentucky.

Two are in Louisville. A statue of a contemplative Lincoln by American sculptor George Grey Barnard has stood in front of the Louisville Free Public Library near downtown since1922.

The second, at Waterfront Park, completed in 2009 by Louisville resident and nationally recognized sculptor Ed Hamilton, is a 12-foot-high sculpture of a young Lincoln sitting on a rock gazing toward the Ohio River with a book on his knee.

Another statue of a young Lincoln reading a book was dedicated in 2008 in the town center in Hodgenville; it faces the statue of a seated adult Lincoln that has been in the town since 1909. The “Boy Lincoln” statue by the Daub-Firmin-Hendrickson Sculpture Group portrays Lincoln shortly before his eighth birthday leaning against a tree trunk on his family farm near Hodgenville reading a spelling book.

Adolph Alexander Weinman created the six-foot-high seated Lincoln, which sits on a 12-foot marble pedestal. Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, was at the dedication.

A statue of a standing Lincoln is in front of the new Washington County judicial center in downtown Springfield. Interlocking brick rings in front of the 10-foot-high bronze statue of a clean-shaven Lincoln represent his keeping the nation together and the wedding of his parents, whose marriage license and bond are inscribed on the statue’s base. They were married in Washington County, and the original documents are stored there.

A statue of Lincoln’s parents, Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln, with his young sister Sarah at their side and Thomas holding the infant Abraham, is in the visitor center at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site near Hodgenville.

Weinman also sculpted the 14-foot-high bronze statue of Lincoln in the rotunda of the state Capitol in Frankfort; over the years, Lincoln’s toe has been buffed to a bright gold by thousands of schoolchildren, adults and legislators who have rubbed it for good luck. It was dedicated in November 1911 by President William Howard Taft.

The newest statue, another one by Hamilton of Lincoln reading, was dedicated last October on the campus of Centre College in Danville. The 12-foot-tall bronze statue on a four-foot base depicts Lincoln reading a law book given to him by Centre graduate and later Lincoln law partner John Todd Stuart.

A Historic Sound
In the movie “Lincoln,” Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln swings a pocket watch back and forth while contemplating a decision. The sound of the watch ticking is heard in the background.
Although the watch was not Lincoln’s, the sound is authentic. It was recorded from a watch Lincoln owned that is at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort.

Technicians with Lucasfilms spent several hours at the museum recording the watch’s sound. The watch, which had never run since the museum acquired it, was carefully examined by jewelers before a tense moment of winding it. It ran perfectly.

“It’s an interesting timepiece and very well preserved,” said curator Bill Bright.

The watch, with the initials “AL” on the fob, is now displayed with an accompanying wand that plays the sound of it ticking, courtesy of the film company.