Idaho Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission
Orchid: Cultural Heritage Preservation
In 1897, Alphonse Pelzer designed and executed a monumental, life-sized statue of Abraham Lincoln as the "Emancipator." Standing six feet four inches tall, seven bronze replicas were made between 1898 and 1919 of the statue by the Mullins Manufacturing Corporation.
In 1915 a copy was acquired for Idaho and placed on a sandstone pedestal at the Idaho Soldier’s Home off of State Street in Boise. When the Old Soldiers Home was torn down in the 1970’s, the Lincoln monument was moved to the new Idaho State Veterans Home located in Fort Boise. When the Lincoln monument was once again threatened by the expansion of a parking lot at the Idaho Veteran’s Home, the Idaho Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission proposed to relocate it a second time to Steunenburg Park in front of the Idaho Capitol Building.
The statue – substantiated as the oldest existing public monument dedicated to Abraham Lincoln in the Western United States – was cleaned, refinished, and conserved before installation. Pennies collected from Idaho schoolchildren helped fund the installation which was dedicated on February 12, 2009 – the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. For their efforts in preserving and highlighting this important monument, the Idaho Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission surely deserves the Orchid Award for Cultural Heritage Preservation.