Thursday, December 9, 2010


We arrived in Gettysburg on November 15 under threatening skies. The weather through the middle of the week was iffy at best but since we were inside it was little more than a nuisance. The biggest issue with the rain and cold was that Wendy, my wife and I, had little chance to get out onto the battlefield. I had even hoped to hook up with a certified battlefield guide named Bill Dowling for a photgraphic tour, but the weather was just to rainy and overcast. Perhaps next year.

The main reason we were in Gettysburg was to attend the Lincoln Forum being held at the Gettysburg Wyndham Hotel located east of the village of Gettsyburg. This year's theme for the Forum was "The Coming of the Civil War: Enter Lincoln, Exit the South". For parts of three days the Forum presented speakers such as Peter Carmichael, Gary Ecelbarger, Harold Holzer, Frank Williams, John Marszalek, Craig Symonds and Mark Neely.

On Thursday afternoon, the weather cleared a bit and we finally had a chance to get out of the hotel for a while and made a short trip to a little crossroads southeast of Gettysburg called Hanover Junction. Hanover Junction is famous for one thing - at this railroad station in rural Pennsylvania President Abraham Lincoln changed trains on his way to Gettysburg on November 18, 1863. The next day Lincoln would give his legendary Gettysburg Address. Hanover Junction was also the site of a minor skirmish involving Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry a few days prior to the battle at Gettsyburg 20 miles west. Stuart's troops burned bridges and other property in the Hanover Junction area but the railroad station in Hanover Junction was not damaged.
A photo exists showing Lincoln's train on the tracks next to the station and some have claimed that President Lincoln is shown in the picture. It is generally thought the man in the picture, resembling Lincoln, is a member of the traveling party.

On February 12, 2009, a bust of Lincoln was dedicated near the now restored railroad station to commemerate Lincoln shart but significant stop at Hanover Junction.
The bust, that sets on a pedestal engraved with Lincoln's signature, was executed by a local sculptor named Joe Kelly. When I saw this new Lincoln bust I thought the bust and the artist's name looked familiar but could not place it. After returning home, itfinally hit me that there is a bust of Lincoln in the old railway station in Gettysburg that is very reminescent of this piece at Hanover Junction.
Just as I suspected, the bust in Gettysburg, at the recently restored train station, is also by Joe Kelly. I have not had time to find Mr. Kelly yet. I know he lives in the Hanover/York/Gettysburg area. I want to learn more about his two Lincoln busts. I am curious about what materials he used for the statues. It is not bronze and it does not seem to be concrete. I suspect that the two works may be constructed of a resin-like material. I'll add to the blog when I am able to run down some of these facts.

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