From the Spokane (Washington) Spokesman-Review comes an interesting story about how a statue of Abraham Lincoln might be the oldest such statue of Lincoln in the American west. The statue, dating from 1915, is going to be moved from the Idaho State Veterans Home in Boise to a much more prominent location on the grounds of the state capitol there. The statue will be re-dedicated at the capitol on the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, February 12, 2009.
The statue is life-sized (6 feet 4 inches) and was dedicated on February 12, 1915. It is one of seven Lincoln statues sculpted by a fellow Ohioan, Alphonso Pelzer, and was presented to the state of Idaho by the Ladies of the Grand Army Of The Republic of Idaho.
The statue has long suffered from neglect, primarily affecting the sandstone pedestal. A penny drive is going to be held in Idaho public schools in order to raise money to pay for the restoration and move of the statue. Once restored and moved, the statue will be featured along a prominent lane by the state capitol building.
According to several books dedicated to documenting public statues and monuments to Lincoln, this statue is the oldest one in the American west. A statue of Lincoln had been erected in San Francisco in 1866, but it was destroyed in the great earthquake and fire of 1906.
Lincoln signed the bill creating the Idaho territory in 1863 and also helped to choose the name of the territory. In addition, he appointed the first governor of the territory.
Congratulations to the state of Idaho for taking the steps in honoring Old Abe’s memory.