This statue of Abraham Lincoln, sculpted by artist Mike Major, commemorates the speech Lincoln gave near the Old Court House (then only nine years old) on September 17, 1859. The eleven-foot-tall statue stands on a four-foot base and weighs about 1,300 pounds. It was commissioned by the Lincoln Society of Dayton, which raised funds for the bronze statue to be waxed and buffed at least once a year. Major has said that he hopes his statue portrays the “strength, intelligence, control, and perhaps humility and attentiveness” of President Lincoln.
After his loss to Stephen A.
Douglas in a Senate campaign, Abraham Lincoln began a tour of Ohio. Though he
was only in Dayton for a couple of hours, he delivered a speech that the
community remembers today. Lincoln spoke against slavery, and this speech, along
with others, helped him win the support of his party, leading to his nomination
as a presidential candidate by the GOP. Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican
president on March 4, 1861.