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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charleston in Kanawha County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
 

Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight

 
 
Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight Monument image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, October 3, 2009
1. Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight Monument
East Side
Inscription.  [East Side]
"Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight" from poem by
Vachel Lindsay
Sculptor
Fred Martin Torrey 1884-1967
Born in Fairmont, West Virginia
Dedicated
June 20, 1974
Arch A. Moore, Jr. Governor

[South Side]
Abraham Lincoln created the state of West Virginia by proclamation and signature.
West Virginia joined the Union June 20, 1863

[West Side]
Funds for statue contributed by school children of West Virginia and other interested citizens.
 
Erected 1974.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & Politics
Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight Monument image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, October 3, 2009
2. Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight Monument
South Side
Click or scan to see
this page online
War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln series list. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1863.
 
Location. 38° 20.136′ N, 81° 36.759′ W. Marker is in Charleston, West Virginia, in Kanawha County. Marker is on Kanawha Boulevard, 0.1 miles west of California Avenue, on the left when traveling east. Located in front of the state capital. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Charleston WV 25311, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Zero Mile Stone (within shouting distance of this marker); Abraham Lincoln (within shouting distance of this marker); State Capitol (within shouting distance of this marker); Booker Taliaferro Washington (within shouting distance of this marker); Union Civil War Monument (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line);
Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight Monument image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, October 3, 2009
3. Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight Monument
West Side
The New Deal In Your Community (about 400 feet away); Thomas J. Jackson (about 400 feet away); Dedicated to You, A Free Citizen in a Free Land (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charleston.
 
Regarding Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight. This statue is 8 feet tall on a 5¾ foot granite base. From the Smithsonian Institution Art Inventories Catalog: “Fred M. Torrey created the original 20 inch high model in 1935 after a Vachel Lindsay poem entitled ‘Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight.’ Charleston resident Louise Bing contacted Torrey about purchasing a Lincoln sculpture in honor of West Virginia’s centennial celebration. Torrey offered the model of "Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight" to West Virginia around 1964-65. Louise Bing raised the $5,000 to purchase the
Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight Monument image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, October 3, 2009
4. Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight Monument
42 inch bronze model, and then went on to spearhead a drive to raise over $35,000 from the public to have the sculpture enlarged. Contributions from across the state came from school children, private citizens, and the West Virginia Arts and Humanities Council. However, the artist died in 1967, before the sculpture could be enlarged. Bernard Wiepper was commissioned to enlarge the original model to a nine foot plaster model which was then cast in bronze. The sculpture was dedicated on West Virginia’s 111th birthday celebration on June 20, 1974.”
 
Additional commentary.
1. Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight (In Springfield, Illinois)
1914 poem by American poet Vachel Lindsay. It portrays Abraham Lincoln walking the streets of Springfield, Illinois, stirred from his eternal sleep, a man, who even in death, is burdened by the tragedies of the first World War.
It is
Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight Statue image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, October 3, 2009
5. Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight Statue
portentous, and a thing of state
That here at midnight, in our little town
A mourning figure walks, and will not rest,
Near the old court-house pacing up and down,

Or by his homestead, or in shadowed yards
He lingers where his children used to play,
Or through the market, on the well-worn stones
He stalks until the dawn-stars burn away.

A bronzed, lank man! His suit of ancient black,
A famous high top-hat and plain worn shawl
Make him the quaint great figure that men love,
The prairie-lawyer, master of us all.

He cannot sleep upon his hillside now.
He is among us:—as in times before!
And we who toss and lie awake for long,
Breathe deep, and start, to see him pass the door.

His head is bowed. He thinks of men and kings.
Yea, when the sick world cries, how can he sleep?
Too many peasants fight, they know not why;
Too many homesteads in black terror weep.

The sins of all the
Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight Monument image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, May 18, 2011
6. Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight Monument
war-lords burn his heart.
He sees the dreadnaughts scouring every main.
He carries on his shawl-wrapped shoulders now
The bitterness, the folly and the pain.

He cannot rest until a spirit-dawn
Shall come;—the shining hope of Europe free:
A league of sober folk, the Workers’ Earth,
Bringing long peace to Cornland, Alp and Sea.

It breaks his heart that things must murder still,
That all his hours of travail here for men
Seem yet in vain. And who will bring white peace
That he may sleep upon his hill again?
 
    — Submitted August 14, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
 
Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight image. Click for full size.
Photograph by J.J. Prats, July 13, 2019
7. Abraham Lincoln Walks At Midnight
Sculpted in 1935 by Fred M. Torrey, enlarged by Bernard Wiepper and installed in 1974.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 15, 2019. It was originally submitted on October 5, 2009, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 2,106 times since then and 69 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 5, 2009, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.   6. submitted on November 25, 2011, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   7. submitted on August 14, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 24, 2021