Lincoln 1860

Lincoln 1860

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Turning Abe Into A Tourist Attraction

With the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth less than one year away, it seems that every locale in the United States is trying to cash in on his continued popularity by coming up with some way of attracting tourists. Booneville, Kentucky is no different. In the Lexington, Kentucky Heralld-Leader comes this story about a somewhat mysterious folk art carving of Abraham Lincoln in a sandstone boulder.

It seems that back in the 1930's, a local family cared for an itinerant pack peddler named Granville Johnson, who was sick and needed both care and shelter. As he grew healthier, Mr. Johnson would disappear from the family's home with a hammer and chisel for hours at a time. Later that summer, Johnson finally revealed what he had been working on. It was a life-sized carving of Lincoln, showing him holding a book in his left hand.

Today, more than 70 years later, the carving is still in excellent condition and is registered by the Smithsonian Institute American Art Museum in its folk art repository. Now local officials are proposing buying the property from the current owners and establishing some sort of walking trail which would lead tourists to the carving. There is some minor controversy as there always is when change comes to a community.

The article I pulled this story from shows another photo of the carving in its entirety.

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