There may be a delay in a new Abraham Lincoln Statue coming to Winchester.
Winchester Mayor Rex McIntire says a search for an affordable statue to commemorate Lincoln’s first speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act propelling him back into national politics is taking a long time because of the need to find a correct manufacturer: “We found statues that we can afford…and this is going to sound bad, but they are made out of the country, and by that I mean made in China. To be honest, I don’t want to put a Lincoln statue in our square that was made in China. We are trying to find an affordable one that’s made here in the States. We’ve found some but so far, they are just beyond our budget, and by beyond our budget, I mean several times beyond our budget.”
You can read reminiscence about Lincoln’s delivery of the speech by Dr. James Miner of Winchester at this link.
McIntire says a group is still looking diligently for a manufacturer to get a new statue placed at the location soon. McIntire says in the meantime, the city is still looking at applying to become a Looking For Lincoln Heritage Trail community.
Ann Moseley, whose family has connections to Winchester, is assisting with the application. Moseley is the the director of engagement and curator for the Sangamon Experience and acting director of the Center for Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield. McIntire says that beyond the statue of Lincoln in the park, there is a possibility to mark the Miner House on Cherry Street, where Lincoln stayed when he visited Winchester.
McIntire says its important for people to know of Lincoln’s connection to Winchester: “Many people don’t realize that it brings people to town when you have a connection to Lincoln like this. People would be surprised about how many people come to Winchester to look at the [Stephen] Douglas statue. There is so many people across the United States that take an interest in Lincoln being one of our most famous and best, if not our greatest President. There are a lot of people that I think would come to check out the sites that we have here. To me, it’s important to bring people to Winchester and it’s important to our businesses.”
McIntire says he doesn’t think of Winchester as being a tourist destination, but the Lincoln designation would give people from all over the country a reason to stop and explore Lincoln’s connection and see all the other amenities the city has to offer.