Naperville unveiled a statue in Central Park recently to commemorate multiple milestones: the 200th anniversary of Illinois, the 50th public art installation of the city’s Century Walk group, and the world’s first statue to depict a young Abraham Lincoln laughing.
According to Mary Lou Wehrli, “Laughing Lincoln” began as the vision of her father, Don Wehrli, a colorful local salesman, community organizer and city councilman who got his start selling jams and jellies at Disneyland.
“I got involved in this project when my father passed,” Wehrli said. “It had been one of his wishes that there would be a statue of Lincoln where people could come and rub his nose. He really enjoyed seeing the shiny nose in Springfield.”