Lincoln staying until April

By Cecilia Fox -

TROY — If you’ve enjoyed the city’s presidential visitor this summer, good news: Abraham Lincoln and his modern day companion are staying in Troy until next spring.

“It was kind of a no-brainer,” Troy Main Street Director Katherine Hayes said. “Especially because they were not charging us any additional fees for keeping it.”

The 30-foot-tall, 40,000 pound monument will stand over the courthouse lawn until the end of April, Hayes said.

“Return Visit” was originally planned to come down on Oct. 27. But Seward Johnson Atelier, the company that owns the sculpture, reached out to Troy Main Street about a month ago to offer an extension.

“Not only were we the first community in the world to receive the Lincoln sculpture, but the fact that they were excited about extending the exhibit for six more months really speaks to how highly they regard their business with Troy,” she said.

Hayes said that the company was thrilled about the community’s reaction to President Lincoln and the Modern Man.

The statue, which has been on display since May, has drawn thousands of people to the courthouse lawn. Hayes estimates that approximately 25,000 people have come downtown to visit the sculpture since its installation in May.

“It’s hard to say, but there are usually people there every day,” Hayes said. In addition to the people who have stopped by the courthouse lawn while visiting downtown, about 14,000 people came for the Lincoln Funeral Train exhibit alongside the sculpture.

The statue has been one of the county’s most popular photo destination for the last six months, she said, with thousands of photos online tagged with the designated hashtag, #LincolnAndMe.

To help visitors line their shots up just right, Troy Main Street designated a “selfie station” near the sculpture.

“The #LincolnAndMe hashtag was really popular,” Hayes said. “I know we got a lot of selfies. People were really creative with it.”

Hayes said she is looking forward to seeing the sculpture in the snow and said that Troy Main Street may potentially have more Lincoln-related events planned for the holidays.

The Seward Johnson Atelier assures that the statue was built to withstand all kinds of weather, Hayes said.

On May 3, the city of Troy officially welcomed artist Seward Johnson’s “Return Visit” as part of the biannual Sculptures on the Square art exhibit. In previous years, Troy Main Street displayed multiple smaller sculptures, but this year’s exhibit is monumental in scale.

Lincoln stands with a modern-day man — rumored to be modeled on Perry Como — highlighting the connection between past and present.

The original life-size sculpture was commissioned by the scholars of the Lincoln Fellowship for the historic Gettysburg Plaza, in Gettysburg, Pa. In Gettysburg, Lincoln gestures up toward the window behind him, at which he sat to write the Gettysburg address. The address is reproduced on the bronze paper held in the modern man’s hands. In Troy, Lincoln gestures toward the Miami County Courthouse.

The sculpture was unveiled for the first time in the spring of 2014 at the J. Seward Johnson Retrospective at the Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey.

This exhibit is on loan from the Sculpture Foundation Inc. and is made possible by a grant from the General Fund of the Troy Foundation. Presented by Troy Main Street in partnership with the city of Troy and the Miami County Commissioners, Sculptures on the Square is a bi-annual public art exhibit in historic downtown Troy.

By Cecilia Fox