Lincoln Memorial at Waterfront Park
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While I was in town last week, I had the chance to check out the completed Lincoln Memorial in Waterfront Park for the first time (you may remember our tour of the construction site from October 2008). On my Saturday visit, a group of several out-of-towners and a few locals were wandering around browsing the bronze bas reliefs and larger-than-life statue of Abraham Lincoln, both creations of local sculptor Ed Hamilton.

Lincoln Memorial at Waterfront Park
Lincoln Memorial at Waterfront Park. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

Now, the Waterfront Development Corporation is hosting two free lunchtime events with Hamilton to discuss the artwork at the memorial. The first event is Wednesday, October 21 (that’s today!) from noon until 1:00 and a second time is scheduled for Saturday, October 24 from noon until 1:00.

Hopefully some of you can make it despite the short notice. Lunch can be purchased at the nearby Stop Lite Liquors Cafe (fare includes bbq sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches and chili) or you can bring your own. Here are the details from the Waterfront Development Corporation:

The Louisville Waterfront Development Corporation is proud to present an intimate lunchtime event with Ed Hamilton. Ed will speak about his experience creating the artwork that is the focal point of the Lincoln Memorial. Guests will have an opportunity for questions and answers with Ed. The two events are free and open to the public. Guests can either use the amphitheater seating or bring blankets and lawn chairs.

The Lincoln Memorial at Waterfront Park was dedicated on June 4, 2009 and includes Hamilton’s sculpture of Lincoln as its centerpiece. The site, framed by an amphitheater, also features four bas reliefs that tell the story of Lincoln’s life-long ties to Kentucky. The Memorial is part of Kentucky’s two-year bicentennial celebration of Lincoln’s birth.

The 12 ft. sculpture shows a young Lincoln sitting on a rock, holding a book and looking out over the Ohio River, where he watched slaves being loaded onto riverboats almost 200 years ago. Lincoln always remembered this, and in later years documented his personal feelings of abhorrence at the sight in a letter to his good friend Joshua Speed. Lincoln is perhaps best known for his visionary leadership when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

The four bas reliefs are mounted on granite panels placed along the walkway that leads into the amphitheater, which has granite seating engraved with Lincoln quotes. Each panel includes a text explanation of the scene depicted. One of the bas reliefs portrays an image of slaves shackled together, just as Lincoln witnessed them on the riverboat.

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Branden Klayko

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