Installation of the 30-foot Lincoln statue outside the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum sent us to Illinois Times archives. In March 2005, then staff writer Dusty Rhodes headlined her column “This is no cowtown,” and described how Tony Leone tried to promote the idea of a contest that would put 100 “plastic Abes” around town, similar to the project that put plastic cows all over Chicago. The ALPLM didn’t want a plastic Abe outside its museum, so the idea fell flat. “People are very sensitive about Lincoln,” explained Susan Mogerman, then director of the museum foundation. “And people who are serious about Lincoln are serious about not playing with his image.” The museum has lightened up over the years, though it still bristles when we call it Abe World. Maybe it’s possible to take Lincoln seriously and still have fun with him.
IT also used to be more hesitant to fool around with Lincoln’s image but, as you can see by this week’s cover by David Hinds, not so much any more. Hinds, who grew up on a farm near New Salem, where Lincoln was nearby, is a full-time artist, builder and craftsman who lives just south of Springfield. –Fletcher Farrar, editor and CEO