“Our Wilsons & Lincoln” event Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. will salute courthouse statue’s 100 years of inspiration

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 Lincoln statue on the south side of the Greene County Courthouse. The plaque includes an inspiring passage from the president’s second inaugural address.

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.

Early community leaders and statue donors E.B. and Minnie Wilson.
Don and Jean Van Gilder, holding a photo of the Wilsons, whom the Van Gilders will portray.
Comments

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

How To Get Involved
title tag Calendar of Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.

title tag Membership & Donations
Help us grow! Donate, become a member, or renew your membership today!
see more arrow
title tag Historical Markers
Did you know there were so many historical sites in this county? See many of them on the map here!
see more arrow
title tag Videos
See interviews with historical figures, events and programs we have recorded, and much more!
see more arrow
title tag Historical Trivia

How many courthouse structures have been built on the site of the current Greene County Courthouse?

Correct

Correct!

There have been three courthouses built where the Greene County Courthouse stands today.  Ground was broken on the current courthouse in November of 1915, the cornerstone was set in May 1916 and the new building was dedicated in October of 1917. The centennial celebration of the courthouse is already underway, with events being planned by the “Courthouse 100” committee, with support from the Greene County Historical Society.  You can learn more about the courthouse history and the celebration plans on the Facebook page “Courthouse 100: Greene County, Iowa.”

Incorrect

Sorry. Try Again!

title tag Featured Image Archive
This is a gallery of our featured images which are no longer viewable on the home page. See if you have missed any by clicking here!