Notice Something Missing? Town Raising Funds to Replace Statue
New Lincoln statue in Wilkinsburg, PA to mark America's first coast-to-coast highway
Since 1916, a grand copper statue of Abraham Lincoln has marked the intersection of Ardmore Boulevard and Penn Avenue in Wilkinsburg, PA.
Statue dedication, circa 1916 (Heinz History Center Detre Archives)
Back in the day the intersection was a pretty big deal. That's because Ardmore was once known as Lincoln Highway, the nation's first transcontinental highway. Penn was part of William Penn Highway, Pennsylvania's first cross-state highway. "Everyone wanted the Lincoln Highway to come through their town and Wilkinsburg was very lucky," Anne Elise Morris, president of the Wilkinsburg Historical Society , told KDKA Radio. All agreed: the coming together of two major highways deserved its own statue.
Then, a few months ago Abe disappeared.
Never fear, he wasn't kidnapped, although that did happen in 1981 when someone sawed off Abe at the ankles and stole him (he was later returned and restored). Morris says they decided to move the statue inside because it was so degraded from age and the elements. "Being as old as he was, had weathered up a bit and had suffered several sets of vandalism. He had a lot of cracks and corrosion." Because the statue had been repaired and restored multiple times it had become fragile. "We decided it was best he be on display indoors" at the Wilkinsburg Municipal Building explained Morris.
Wilkinsburg Historical Society
Now the Historical Society is on a campaign to replace the old Abe statue with a new one that will be made of sturdier metal. "We'd like to go bronze with a statue that will last for several centuries."The small park that surrounds the statue will have reinforced fencing to protect Abe from the car accidents that invariably happen at the busy intersection.
The Historical Society has set up a GoFundMe page to raise the approximately $70,000 it will cost to make the new statue. "Together we can raise funds for a new statue of Abraham Lincoln to remind everyone of his ideals of equality for all, and government 'of the people, by the people, for the people'"says the fundraising page.
Donate $100 or more and get an Abraham Lincoln bobblehead as a thank you! Wilkinsburg Historical Society