Lincoln statue.

Oldest Surviving Statue of Lincoln

Field review by the editors.

Washington, DC

This marble statue of Abraham Lincoln was unveiled on April 15, 1868, the third anniversary of his death. It stands outside Washington's old City Hall, a former slave market and future site of the trial of Charles Guiteau, who assassinated President Garfield 15 years after John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln.

At the time it was America's second oldest Lincoln statue; now it's the oldest, since an earlier statue in San Francisco was subsequently destroyed in that city's 1906 earthquake.

This Lincoln has also had brushes with oblivion. Although the statue was praised for its accuracy in its early years -- the sculptor was Lot Flannery, who said he was in the audience at Ford's Theatre when Lincoln was shot -- as the decades passed it fell from official favor. In January 1920, with the construction of the new Lincoln Memorial underway, the statue was taken down. Officials hinted that it would be better off moved elsewhere; suggested destinations included Spencer, Indiana; Moline, Illinois; and Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The people of Washington, DC -- who, after all, had paid of the statue -- were upset, and then became genuinely angry when the Great Emancipator was later found in a basement and then packed in an outdoor crate surrounded by weeds. Chastened, DC officials in October 1923 put Lincoln back only a few feet away from his original spot. His right hand subsequently fell off and was replaced by one that is slightly too large, and his 18-foot-high pillar was replaced by a lower pedestal, but otherwise marble Abe today looks pretty much as he did in 1868.

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Oldest Surviving Statue of Lincoln

Address:
451 Indiana Ave. NW, Washington, DC
Directions:
On the north side of D St. NW/Indiana Ave. NW midway between 5th and 4th Sts NW.
Save to My Sights

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