EDGEWATER — Abraham Lincoln: lawyer, president and ... hunk?
A 13-foot-tall bronze statue in Edgewater depicting a muscly, chest-baring young Lincoln has some passersby swooning over the image of America's 16th president.
While Lincoln is typically depicted as notoriously straight-faced and bearded, the sculpture shows a more casual side of the iconic leader sitting on a tree stump with a book in hand.
"Young Lincoln is more attractive than I've been imagining," one Instagrammer wrote.
The statue was installed at Senn Park at Ridge Avenue and Clark Street in 1997, the site of the Krantsz family's former Seven Mile House, where Lincoln was rumored to have visited while on the campaign trail in 1860 — though the Edgewater Historical Society argues the meeting was "highly unlikely."
Created in 1945 by artist Charles Keck, "Young Lincoln" imagines the former president in his early days with a clean-shaven face, bare feet and a semi-buttoned work shirt with rolled-up sleeves.
Keck was an apprentice of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who sculpted the famous "Standing Lincoln" statue in Lincoln Park, once named the “greatest work of sculpture in America.”
According to art historians, Keck's sculpture is meant to give the feeling that "Lincoln has just finished work, found a comfortable tree stump to sit on, grabbed his book and is lost in his law studies" during a period of his life when manual labor and self-directed learning would have been part of his normal routine.
But that hasn't stopped local residents from crushing on the handsome sculpture.
"Sexy Abe" Lincoln is actually "Young Lincoln" by sculptor Charles Keck. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Resident Kim Dale said at some point she and her friends dubbed the bronze work "Hot Lincoln" after noticing the "strangely racy depiction" of a person who she "never previously thought of in that way."
"You don't normally see arms like that on presidential statues or so much bare chest," she said. "His hair is rather like a teen heartthrob, too."
"He's definitely the hottest Lincoln I've ever seen."
On Foursquare, the only visitor of the statue to leave a review described the site as: "Young Abe Lincoln = TOTAL FOX."
Another online commenter wrote the sculpture made Lincoln look like a "hunk" and accompanied a photo of the statue with the hashtag "#SexyLincoln."
Some simply referred to the piece as "Sexy Abe," a term West Ridge resident Becky Ozaki said she agreed with while waiting for her bus near the statue Tuesday afternoon.
"He is 'Sexy Lincoln'; they're right," Ozaki said.
She'd seen the piece before but never realized it was the famous ex-president, she said.
Upon closer inspection, she thought the sculpture bore a resemblance to actor Tony Goldwyn, who, interestingly, plays President Fitzgerald Grant III on the ABC series "Scandal."
A group of four Senn High School students giggled Tuesday when asked if they agreed the sculpture made Lincoln look attractive and agreed the statue was "handsome."
When students first start at the school, many don't realize the bronze bust is of Lincoln, but assume its their school's namesake, Nicholas Senn, the group said.
Photos by DNAinfo/Linze Rice