The photo below (courtesy Jim Kearns, Manager, University of Wyoming Media Relations) shows sculptor Robert Russin and assistants working on the bust of Abraham Lincoln that they built in 1959 to honor Lincoln’s 150th birthday. Its location in eastern Wyoming also marked the highest point on the Lincoln Highway: 8,835 feet.
According to the Laramie Area Chamber and Albany County Tourism Board, Russin spent 11 months building the 4,500 lb. sculpture. The head’s 30 pieces were cast in Mexico City so that they could work in a constant favorable climate, then the bronze pieces were sent by rail back to Wyoming to be bolted together. The 13.5-foot-tall bust was then set atop a 35-foot-tall cut-granite base built by local crews. The inside is hollow to hold ladders and lightning rods. In 1969, the monument was moved (during a snowstorm!) about a half mile to a rest stop when I-80 opened between Cheyenne and Laramie. It’s now at the highest point along I-80: 8,640 feet.
The visitors center (above) has an informational panel about the monument and the Lincoln Highway. In 2001, the Henry B. Joy monument with four Lincoln Highway concrete posts was moved there from the Continental Divide interchange about a hundred miles to the west. Russin’s fascination with the president went beyond the monument: he named his second son Lincoln.