Abraham Lincoln

CNN — 

For more than a decade, a large bronze top hat has rested next to a stately statue of Abraham Lincoln sitting on a rock in Louisville, Kentucky’s Waterfront Park and, until recently, the accessory had been securely bolted to the former president’s perch.

But police are now investigating the disappearance of the hat, which was recently reported missing, Louisville Metro Police said in a statement.

The statue’s sculptor, Ed Hamilton, said he first heard the hat was missing on Saturday morning from the Waterfront Development Corporation, a nonprofit that oversees the park.

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CNN has reached out to the Waterfront Development Corporation for comment.

In a social media post, Hamilton said someone had stolen the hat.

“They had to be strong and determined to pry bronze from a base, good grief!,” the sculptor posted on Facebook.

The hat, which stands about 2 feet tall and weighs as much as 40 pounds, was bolted to the rock in two places, Hamilton told CNN.

The larger than life Lincoln sits about 8 feet tall, including the rock he is seated on, Hamilton said. If the former president were to be standing, he would tower over park goers at 12 feet in height.

The hat’s disappearance came as a surprise to Hamilton who said the memorial has been a “quiet” and “sacred space” since its dedication in 2009.

“It’s been a nice jewel down there and people come and they sit on him and take pictures by him and sit there and meditate along with him while they’re there,” Hamilton said.


Courtesy Ed Hamilton

Hamilton is well known for his public memorials that can be seen up and down the East Coast, including “The Unfinished March,” a sculpture featuring Martin Luther King Jr. in Virginia, and “The Spirit of Freedom,” a tribute to Black soldiers and sailors who served in the Civil War, in Washington, DC.

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He created the sculpture of Lincoln, which overlooks the Ohio River, to commemorate a trip the 16th president took to Kentucky in the 1840s.

“We know he had walked the waterfront back in those days and he actually saw riverboats going up and down the Ohio River that were loaded with slaves,” Hamilton said of his inspiration for the piece. “So, we know that he saw that and that was one of his torments.”

“So what I tried to do was to create a memorial of Abraham Lincoln – not so much glorifying him … but I tried to make it more personal, you see? More approachable because he was a people person,” Hamilton explained.

The sculptor said he tried to create an image of Lincoln that appears to be greeting people who visit the memorial. “You can imagine him saying, ‘Oh, hey friends, come and sit with me. Let’s talk.’”

Hamilton hopes the top hat will be returned. But if not, he plans to replace it.

“And then we’ll put it on there even stronger,” he said.


Q: When was the bronze top hat reported missing from the sculpture of Abraham Lincoln in Louisville?

A: The bronze top hat was reported missing recently, prompting an investigation by the Louisville Metro Police.


Q: Who sculpted the statue of Abraham Lincoln at Waterfront Park in Louisville?

A: The statue was sculpted by Ed Hamilton.


Q: How long had the bronze top hat been part of the sculpture before it went missing?

A: The bronze top hat had been part of the sculpture since its dedication in 2009.


Q: What are the dimensions of the bronze top hat?

A: The hat stands about 2 feet tall and weighs as much as 40 pounds.


Q: How has the community responded to the disappearance of the bronze top hat?

A: The community has expressed surprise and disappointment, as the sculpture has been a “quiet” and “sacred space” since its dedication.

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