Giant Head of Abraham Lincoln
No one heading west on I-80 between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming, can possibly miss this colossal, craggy Abraham Lincoln head towering over traffic at exit 323.
Lincoln's head was built by Wyoming's Parks Commission to honor Lincoln's 150th birthday. It was sculpted by Robert Russin, a University of Wyoming art professor and a Lincoln fan (When he died in 2007, his ashes were interred in the hollow monument). But why is Lincoln in Wyoming? It's because the head originally stood alongside the highest point of the old coast-to-coast Lincoln Highway, at Sherman Summit, 8,878 feet above sea level. When I-80 was completed in 1969, the head was moved here -- losing a couple of hundred feet (and its key rationale for existing, really) but gaining a vast new audience.
The bronze head weighs over two tons and is 13.5 feet tall. It's perched atop a 30-foot granite pedestal, ensuring that it can be seen from quite a distance, and looking uncomfortably similar to box-bound Captain Pike from Star Trek (the original series). The head is intentionally oversized on tiny shoulders, like a cartoon caricature, and seems to be sagging from its own weight. It disappeared for a couple of weeks in late 2015, but only to receive a thorough cleaning and sealing, Big Abe was back on his perch by New Year's Day 2016.
For coast-to-coast travelers, the Lincoln head is an easy stop; and the adjacent Summit Rest Area and Visitor Center provides a comfortable vantage for contemplating our 16th President. Ever vigilant, he stares toward the rebellious South.