WILMINGTON – Before a miniature replica of Lincoln’s house in Springfield, Illinois makes a permanent landing in Springfield or Gettysburg, it will be on display in the rotunda of the Clinton County Courthouse.
Commissioned by the late Gary Kersey, who lived his entire life in County Clinton, and handcrafted by Earl Clinton Charles “Charlie” Lakatos, this is truly a product of County Clinton, as well as ‘a scale model of the house where Abraham Lincoln lived for 17 years until he left in 1861 to become the 16th President of the United States.
The intricate resemblance is on display to the local public thanks to the Kersey Estate.
Gary Kersey’s daughter Nina said that while her father loved the story and was an expert on Lincoln, the striking model was not created for Lincoln’s sake. It was created for the rest of us to see the Lincoln House and hear the stories behind it.
“This is his [Gary’s] passion for people to appreciate and see things. He wanted it to be a tool to share with others, ”said Nina.
And share it with others, he did. The Lincoln House traveled all over the country, transported here and there for Lincoln talks.
The house – and possibly another Kersey commissioned model of the Lincoln House facade – is slated to be on display at the courthouse for about two months. Nina thinks she would like to display the two lines by rocking halfway through.
The model of the front of the house will see sculptures of human figures representing a congressional delegation at the house, she said. These sculptures were made by Don Mertz of County Clinton, a retired minister well known for his knife and chisel skills.
Nina (Benjamin Brown) Kersey and her sister Gena (Timothy Orr) Kersey will together decide the final house of the Lincoln house.
It took four men last Friday to transport the miniature house to the staircase landing of the county courthouse. Courthouse officials ask the admiring public not to touch the house, but simply to examine it.
On Tuesday morning, May Gerchak Stewart, an employee of the Clinton County Electoral Board, stopped to take a look at Lincoln’s house.
“It’s just amazing,” she said. “Very very nice.”
The residents were fortunate to have Gary Kersey and his enthusiasm for history and Lincoln among them, said Gerchak Stewart. She remembers attending “Lincoln’s Last Hours” presented by Gary Kersey several years ago at the Murphy Theater. In particular, she remembers a bust of Lincoln on display at the event.
After seeing the house for the first time, Clinton County Jury Commission clerk Ka’Shira Myburgh said she was in awe of the craftsmanship.
“It makes me want to research the house,” she said.
In fact, she might just bring her 15 and 12 year old daughters to see the replica of the house. Which, without a doubt, is exactly the effect Gary Kersey is looking for.
Contact Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.
Gary Kersey, pictured, often brought the replica of Lincoln’s house to public lectures he gave on Lincoln.
Ka’Shira Myburgh overlooks the Lincoln House, currently on temporary display at the Clinton County Courthouse.