Move over Meijer Sculpture Park

Second work of art installed down town this week


What a week last week was for Rockford. Following the city’s annual Start of Summer weekend, the popular Rogue River Blues Series returned last Tuesday night. Just prior to the music of the Jimmie Stagger Band, all in attendance were invited to the Rockford Dam Overlook for the unveiling and dedication of the Waterdance sculpture.

Second work of great art in one week—Abraham Lincoln and Waterdance, hopefully, will cause artists and patrons of the arts to consider the many beautiful parks and venues of the Rockford cityscape, themselves. photo by CLIFF HILL

And then, last Friday morning, directly from Palm Dessert, Calif., a cast bronze sculpture of Abraham Lincoln arrived in town and was placed on prominent display.

“Honest Abe” is seated on a bench located in front of the pavilion, at the south end of the Natureview Properties Building that is adjacent to, and part of, the Promenade complex (think Reds, Frenz, and Paper Doll). Lincoln appears to be contemplating the presentation of the Gettysburg Address.

The Lincoln statue arrived in Rockford after a 36-hour road trip from J. Willott Gallery on the west coast. Personally chauffeuring the 500-pound statue was Ken Paquette, the father of one of the gallery’s owners. Waiting for Paquette were Alan Rummler and Steve Hoogwind of Cedar Springs’ River Ridge Landscaping Company, who had been contracted for previous site preparation and final installation of the statue.

Now you are probably asking the obvious question: “How did this come to be?” Rockford area resident and CEO of Rockford’s Trendwell Energy, Tom Mall, has benevolently gifted this significant work of art to the Rockford community. Celebrated sculptor Gary Lee Price, whose sculptures are in public and private collections throughout the world, created the Lincoln sculpture.

Seated with Abraham Lincoln is Ken Paquette, who had transported the Lincoln statue from Palm Dessert, Calif. Dessert, Calif. Standing behind is Alan Rummler (left), owner of Cedar Springs' River Ridge Landscaping with his foreman Steve Hoogwind (right). River Ridge did the install complete with statue being anchored to a concrete foundation. Photo by CLIFF HILL


Mall said, “People love statues, and Abraham Lincoln was one of our greatest historical figures. All school-age children learn of the Gettysburg Address and how Lincoln kept us together as a nation during one of the most trying times in our country’s history. My wife, Cathy, and I believe Lincoln has great appeal to a broad spectrum of people, and we felt Rockford was the perfect venue for this statue.”

Mall’s son and Trendwell Energy President Todd Mall, along with his sister and company vice president, Angela Adams, agree. Both expressed the hope that the statue will create people traffic who will detour off the White Pine Trail to see Lincoln and at the same time discover the Natureview Properties Building and the businesses located therein.

A proud and beaming Rockford City Manager Michael Young, upon seeing the Lincoln statue for the first time, said, “In one week we are turning into the art capital of the world. The Lincoln statue is a perfect accompaniment and so apropos to the statue of the Civil War soldier located in front of the Community Cabin.”

In addition to its location adjacent to the White Pine Trail, the Lincoln statue is more easily accessed by using the Rogue Riverside Boardwalk along the west side of the Promenade complex.

So, here we go again—come downtown, bring friends and relatives, and witness the latest addition to all Rockford has to offer. Don’t forget your camera!

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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.