Lincoln Statue Nears Completion

Updated: Oct 4, 2021


Life size plus his hat, the seven-foot-tall statue dwarfs Lincoln Fund committee members, l-r, Susie Galer, Kathy Dagon, Roy Hertel, Pat Brink and Nancy Slepicka.
Life size plus his hat, the seven-foot-tall statue dwarfs Lincoln Fund committee members, l-r, Susie Galer, Kathy Dagon, Roy Hertel, Pat Brink and Nancy Slepicka.

Abe Greets Lincoln Committee At Sculptor’s Decatur Studio

By Nancy Bliss Slepicka


Life size, Abraham Lincoln is an imposing fellow, but a slight smile and hint of amusement in his eyes suggest that he is glad to be back among friends.


Abe’s loosened tie and his coat’s wrinkled collar show that he just arrived at the plaza by buggy from the Hillsboro station, after a long train ride from Shelbyville.


Last week, sculptor John McClarey invited members of the local fund-raising committee to his Decatur studio for their first look at the nearly finished clay model of the Lincoln statue commissioned for the Hillsboro Plaza.


Abe and his creator won their unanimous approval.

Still to be sculpted are Abe's travel bag and his umbrella, which the U.S. Senate candidate would need on that rainy day in September 1858 when he spoke at the Fairgrounds
Still to be sculpted are Abe's travel bag and his umbrella, which the U.S. Senate candidate would need on that rainy day in September 1858 when he spoke at the Fairgrounds

McClarey said he’ll complete the clay model in April and will take it to the Galesburg foundry in early May to be cast into bronze, a nearly three-month process. The finished sculpture will be delivered to Hillsboro in early August and anchored in place.


The unveiling and dedication are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 15, to commemorate the 125th Old Settlers Days celebration and the Lincoln Bicentennial.

John McClarey studies “my buddy, Abe.” McClarey is recognized internationally as among the premier Abraham Lincoln sculptors.
John McClarey studies “my buddy, Abe.” McClarey is recognized internationally as among the premier Abraham Lincoln sculptors.

More than $60,000 of the $70,000 project has already been raised, principally through donations ranging from $5 to $1,000 from individuals, businesses and civic organizations. Fund drive co-chairman Kathy Dagon said contributions have arrived from 15 states.

Sale of commemorative tiles for the plaza has generated a good portion of the total revenues. An initial order for 225 tiles has been submitted, and the final order must be placed with the engraving company before April 20 to guarantee delivery by mid-July. The tiles will be installed on the lower walls of the stage and plaza prior to the statue’s dedication.


Photos by: Nancy Slepicka

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Jeff Dunn

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