Photo of proposed Lincoln Monument Project at the
Homer Town Hall. Photo by David P. Quinlan. Concept
by Sculptor Frank Porcu.
Holidays are much more than festive occasions on a calendar. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and Presidents Day provide an opportunity to set aside some time to remember persons and events of the past that have significantly shaped our values, traditions, and collective identity as a people. There are, however, some persons and events of the past that are worthy of on-going commemoration in a physical form. These persons and events often have public spaces set aside to honor them with plaques, markers, street names, preserved architecture, and statuary.
Residents of Central New York are or should be keenly aware that their region abounds with historical personages worthy of memorialization. Clinton Square in Syracuse has statuary recalling the famous public rescue in 1851 of William “Jerry” Henry from the enforcers of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Another runaway slave, Harriet Tubman, has her final residence in Auburn dedicated to her participation as a “conductor” in the Underground Railroad movement. Auburn, too, is the site of a statue of William Henry Seward, the secretary of state in the Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson presidencies. Nearby, Seward’s residence, brimming with artifacts, has been wisely preserved and is open to public inspection.