Ax-Wielding Abe Lincoln in Hawaii
Ewa Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
"Lincoln the Frontiersman," ax in his hands, tree stumps at his feet, was the last bronze monument made in the U.S. during World War II. Why is Abe chopping down Illinois oaks and elms in tropical Hawaii?
It's because Katherine Burke, a former principal of Oahu's Ewa Plantation School, was a Lincoln fan. She left her entire modest estate to fund an inspirational Lincoln statue for the children. Sculptor Avard Fairbanks took the job when others walked away from its low budget. He created a sweaty Abe in shirtsleeves in part because it was youthful, in part because he thought a traditional frock-coat-and-stovepipe-hat-wearing Lincoln would look ridiculous in that climate.
The political message of plopping a Lincoln on Hawaii after Japan tried to take it from us was not lost on the powers-that-be, and the nine-foot-tall sculpture was cast in bronze just as wartime metal restrictions kicked in. The Frontiersman took two more years to finally reach Hawaii, and was finally unveiled in 1944 on Lincoln's 135th birthday. Watch out, Tojo, we have axes!