RACINE - For at least the fourth time since it was installed in East Park, the statue of the Lincolns is missing a nose.
This time it's Mary Todd Lincoln's. Residents contacted The Journal Times this week to ask about the damage to the granite statue depicting the former first lady and President Abraham Lincoln, which is located in front of the Gateway Technical College campus on Main Street.
Gateway officials hadn't been aware of the damage, said John Thielen, director of buildings and technology for the Racine campus. After inspecting the sculpture Tuesday afternoon, he said he would file a report with police. Flowers around the statue had been trampled, but he couldn't locate the nose.
"I don't think it fell off," Thielen said.
Newspaper accounts show one or both noses on the statue were vandalized twice in the 1960s, and a staff member told Thielen this also happened about 10 years ago. Gateway hired a sculptor to put a new nose on Mary Lincoln and will work quickly to do that again, he said. Although the city owns the park, Gateway maintains it.
Racine resident Lena Rosewall died in 1935, leaving her entire $20,000 estate to build a memorial of the couple, said Steven Rogstad, who's writing a series of articles on the statue for the Racine Heritage Museum. Rosewall admired Mary Lincoln when most still looked suspiciously at women involved in politics, he said.
"They thought she was just a nutty lady and an embarrassment to the country," Rogstad said.
She brought her son to Racine in the late 1860s to attend school after her husband was assassinated, according to historians.