In northwest D.C., near the Petworth and Park View neighborhoods (MAP), there is a Gothic Revival-style residence known as President Lincoln’s Summer Cottage. And there is a statue of its namesake resident on the grounds. On this lunchtime bike ride I rode there to see it.
The 2,500-pound sculpted bronze statue of President Lincoln and a horse, presumably his favorite horse named Big Bob, was created by sculptor Ivan Schwartz of StudioEIS, who spent months conducting research to ensure the historical accuracy and visual aesthetics of this portrayal of Lincoln and Big Bob. The statue was financed by Robert H. Smith., and dedicated in February of 2009.
The statue depicts President Lincoln standing next to his horse, who he was seen riding around the grounds of the cottage on April 13, 1865, the day before he was assassinated. He is presumably either about to embark on or returning from his commute to the White House. Every morning from April or May through November, Lincoln would make the three-mile, 30-minute commute on horseback down the hill into D.C. , and back again in the evening. In 2011, staff from the summer cottage tried to reenact his horse ride and it took two hours due to traffic and lights. That’s typical of D.C. traffic.
In comparison to The Lincoln Memorial, the summer cottage statue’s portrayal of President Lincoln is a much more intimate and personal one rather than a strong, serious figure elevated and looking down at the viewer. The lifelike statue of a standing Lincoln is exactly six feet four-and-a-half inches tall, which was the actual height of the 16th President. So visitors are at eye level with Lincoln. So step right up to it to get an idea of what it might have been like to stand toe-to-toe with Honest Abe. The hat brings him up to seven feet tall.