Anyone who has visited the New Salem State Park in Petersburg, Illinois has seen this Lincoln statue. It’s one of several located within the park. “Lincoln the Surveyor,” as it is called, is a work by John McClarey to commemorate the young Lincoln as he learns and works the trade of surveying. Lincoln is portrayed as he was at age twenty-five. The statue is based on the drawings of the well-known artist Lloyd Ostendorf. It shows Lincoln as vital, energetic, and eager. Though we all know that Lincoln would not make his life’s occupation the surveying business, it does demonstrate that individuals are a “work in progress.” I was once a security guard while attending college. It was not my intention to remain a security guard (though there is nothing wrong with that), but the job served more as a “means to an end”- namely, to help support myself to get through school. So it was with young Lincoln. He would be moving on to other employment endeavors culminating in the presidency. Somehow, I think he enjoyed the surveying trade. But, alas, as I have just noted, it wasn’t meant to be permanent for him. The work was dedicated October 4, 2003. It is placed near the Visitor’s Center. Check it out when you visit!
Source: Lincoln in Sculpture by Carl Volkmann.
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