Iconic ‘Abe’ bench to be re-installed at Milwaukee & Touhy
by JASON MEREL
Residents driving through the intersection of Milwaukee and Touhy avenues in Niles recently may have noticed that the iconic bench with an attached statue of Abraham Lincoln near the village’s Veterans Memorial Waterfall has been missing this year.
Village of Niles communications coordinator Mitch Johnson said the statue was removed for repair and restoration after damage to it was discovered in October when the fountain is typically shut off for the winter.
Village employees discovered dents, scratches, scuffs and fading on the statue due to weather. It was also dirty and needed cleaning, according to Johnson.
The statue was dedicated in 1999 and is typically removed for storage during the winter months, then re-installed in time for Memorial Day events. Many have noticed that the statue was missing from this year’s commemoration event.
"Unfortunately, the intricate painting on the bench portion of the statue could not be replicated so the bench seat will now be solid blue," Johnson said. He added that the artist that created the installation was not available to help restore the damaged artwork to its original detail.
Restoration is nearing completion and the bench is currently being varnished. Johnson said the plan is to re-install the statue in the next few weeks, though a final date has not been set.