Chesterwood was once the home of one of America's foremost sculptors, Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), who created two of the most iconic sculptures in the country: the Minute Man and the massive statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The home was built in 1896 and designed by his architect friend Henry Bacon in the Colonial Revival style. The 122 acre property features gardens, woodland paths, and permanent sculptures; there are also exhibitions of sculptures as well. The Barn Gallery contains a permanent exhibition about French's life and work, featuring sketches, plaster casts and bronze molds.
French created a 7 foot model of the Abraham Lincoln statue and sent that to a stone carving company in New York. The sculptors there took a year to complete the 19 ft. statue.
Backstory and Context
French's only child, Margaret French Cresson, bequeathed the house and property to the National Trust of Historic Preservation, which continues to own and operate the home. Chesterwood was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 and a year before was declared a National Historic Landmark.