to a native son
Hamilton to unveil
Lincoln statue at Louisville park
to be held on waterfront at sunset
Helen E. McKinney
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 2009) The landscape
of Louisvilles Waterfront Park will soon change forever with the
unveiling of the Lincoln Memorial. A 12-foot statue of Abraham Lincoln
seated on a rock will command a presence not to be forgotten along the
Ohio River, poignantly demonstrating his life-long ties to Kentucky.
Hamilton poses with his twelve foot
model of President Lincoln.
The Lincoln Memorial at Waterfront Park was commissioned
by the Waterfront Development Corporation. The Lincoln Memorial was
funded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the family of Harry Frazier
and the Kentucky Historical Society-Kentucky Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial
Commission as part of the two-year celebration of the birth of the nations
State Sen. Dan Kelly was instrumental in seeing this project through
by getting $2 million put into the state budget for it, said David Karem,
president of the Waterfront Development Corp. It clearly is a
centerpiece of the Kentucky culmination of the Lincoln Bicentennial,
As co-chairman of the Kentucky Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission,
Kelly has played an active role in all of the Commission decisions,
said Lisa Cleveland, spokesperson for the Kentucky Historical Society.
The Kentucky Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission contributed financially
toward the project, and the Kentucky Historical Society provided the
research that went into the memorial. It will be a visible monument
to our native son, she said.
A sunset dedication ceremony will be held Thursday, June 4. The ceremony
will begin at 8:45 p.m. with gates opening at 8 p.m. and is free and
open to the public.
Included will be a dramatic performance of Aaron Coplands Lincoln
Portrait and the Kentucky History Mobile, which contains the exhibit,
Kentuckys Abraham Lincoln.
Karem has worked with the Center for the Arts to provide a memorable
ceremony. The event will contain music, orchestration and dramatic readings
by actor William Mapother, who has ties to Louisville.
The memorial site features an amphitheatre with granite seating carved
with famous Lincoln quotes. In addition to the sculpture of Lincoln,
the site will also contain four bas reliefs relating four different
stages of Lincolns life and experiences in Kentucky.
This tree-canopied landscape was designed by world-renowned landscape
architects Hargreaves Associates. Their design concept flows perfectly
with the rest of the park, Karem said.
Sculptor Ed Hamilton was chosen to create the memorial because he is
a nationally recognized sculptor and has ties to Louisville, said Karem.
Hamiltons credits include Spirit of Freedom, a Washington,
D.C., memorial honoring African American troops of the Civil War, and
a sculpture of York, the slave of William Clark and vital part of the
Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1803-1806. This 8-foot bronze is placed
on the Belvedere plaza in downtown Louisville.
To create the Lincoln Memorial, Hamilton had to conduct many hours of
research. He began with a biography by Russell Freedman and slowly expanded
his knowledge of Lincoln to get a handle on what kind of sculpture would
One thing Hamilton constantly picked up from his research was the fact
that Lincoln loved to tell stories. By placing the sculpture in a natural
setting, it seems as if visitors to the site could walk right up to
Lincoln and start talking to him.
This project is a microcosm of Lincolns connections to the
state of Kentucky, Karem said. I know well become
an important site for anyone interested in Lincoln.
For more information, visit: www.LouisvilleWaterfront.com/projects/lincoln/.
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