There are big heads—and then there's the 13-foot-high noggin of Abraham Lincoln that broods over Interstate 80 about seven miles east of Laramie, Wyo. The 7,000-pound sculpture is hard to miss—unlike the president's connection to Wyoming, which wasn't even a territory at the time the Great Emancipator died. The bust, which turns 50 this year, was sculpted and cast in honor of Lincoln's birthday—February 12, 1809—by University of Wyoming art professor Robert Russin (who also named his second son Lincoln). The late artist saw eastern Wyoming as a fine place for a memorial to the 16th president. "The grandeur of the landscape recalls the nobility of his soul," Russin wrote. Drivers spy the big head at the highest spot on I-80—near the high point of the transcontinental railroad a century earlier. And that's the Lincoln tie-in. Abe gave the region a boost when he signed the Pacific Railway Act of 1862.
Photography by Richard Cummins /Lonely Planet Images
This article was first published in January 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.