JEFFERSON, Iowa, Nov. 5, 2018 — An inspiring story of how the unique statue of President Abraham Lincoln was commissioned, placed and dedicated on the Greene County Courthouse square 100 years ago will be told again on Sunday, Nov. 11, in a 2 p.m. program in the courthouse rotunda here.
“Our Wilsons & Lincoln –100 years later” has been organized by the Courthouse 100 committee, which in the fall of 2017 put together the celebration of the building’s centennial.
In the era 1915-’18, there was not only great pride across the county in the new courthouse, there was also great anticipation for the designation and construction of the new Lincoln Highway on a route taking it on the south side of the square.
All that prompted attorney E.B. Wilson and his wife Minnie, who were community leaders in Jefferson, to decide to order and donate a statue of President Lincoln, whose leadership in the Civil War and subsequent assassination made him an enduring national hero.
The statue was actually dedicated on Sept. 22, 1918, and the Jefferson newspapers reported more than 5,000 people attended.
A century later, on this Nov. 11, there’ll be a much smaller, but still meaningful, 100th anniversary celebration.
Courthouse 100 chairperson Don Van Gilder will welcome the crowd, and introduce Rick Morain, the program’s narrator.
Then Allan Sieck, of Rippey, will do a recitation of Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.” He will be followed by Jefferson native Dean Parr, now of Cedar Rapids, an active leader in both the National and Iowa Lincoln Highway Associations, speaking about the building of that important highway and its impact.
Then there will be a theatrical portrayal of the Wilsons, “reappearing” to tell their own version of the story about their gift of the statue. They will be portrayed by Don and Jean Van Gilder, who have appeared in several plays together, most often in productions of the Greene County Community Players.
And Tori Riley will conclude the program with an original poem.
The program in the rotunda is free, and refreshments will be, too – apple cider from Deal’s Orchard and donut holes from Dunkers by Matt.