CRYSTAL LAKE – The Flag Store in Crystal Lake is continuing the tradition of the "Lincoln window."
It started when Raue Hardware occupied the space at 69 N. Williams St. Every February Lucile Raue would hang a picture of Abraham Lincoln in the front window. It caught the eye of Dave Warren of Crystal Lake, a craftsman and Lincoln scholar, whose license plate was OLD ABE 1.
"I went in and asked her if she'd like some other stuff," Warren said. "So we'd fill up the window each year."
What they filled the window with were reproductions of Lincoln furniture and furnishings made by Warren.
Years later, Raue gave Warren the Lincoln picture. "I told her it would be back here every year," said Warren, 85.
When Raue Hardware closed after the death of Lucile Raue in 1994, The Flag Store picked up the tradition of honoring Lincoln, said Edna McCall, owner of The Flag Store.
Among the items on display this year are a reproduction of a rocking chair and spring-wound clocks, copied from items that once belonged to Lincoln.
One of the items is a boot jack. "Lincoln, of course, knew woodworking. He'd help his father, and he needed a boot jack to pull off his boots," Warren said. "The boot jack has the same cut nails that were popular at that time," Warren said.
The Lincoln rocking chair "was the chair that Mary Lincoln came back from Washington and said, 'Oh, that's the chair that I rocked all my babies in,'" Warren said. "All the chairs were lower then, because he people were lower," he said.
Also in the display is a Popular Mechanics magazine featuring some of Warren's Lincoln clocks – and plans on how to build them.
Warren has sold some reproductions for as much as $10,000. Who buys them? "Various woodworkers and sometimes Lincoln scholars want some of the furniture," Warren said.
For information about plans for Lincoln furnishings, email email@example.com.
Warren's interest in reproducing Lincoln furnishings got a boost in 1969 when he was allowed to go into the Lincoln home in Springfield to photograph items and take measurements. From there he was able to develop detailed plans to build Lincoln furniture. Thomas Lincoln, Abe's father, was a woodworker and cabinet maker who tried to pass the craft on to his son. However, Abe was interested in other things.
Warren said he liked the movie "Lincoln," although it didn't have any furniture representative of the 16th president's furnishings in Springfield.
"That was all Washington furniture" in the movie, Warren said. "He moved to Washington to whatever was there. Everything was kept here (in Illinois). Some of it was handed out to other people, some of it stayed in the house, and some of it moved to Chicago when (son) Robert and (Mary) moved to Chicago." He said much of the furniture that made the move to Chicago was lost in the Chicago fire of 1871.
"I thought it was an excellent portrayal, except when slapped his boy Robert because he was so frustrated." Warren said of the movie. "It was so uncharacteristic of Lincoln, because he'd let those kids run all over the place, and pick up papers and throw them around, and all the partners and everybody used to get so upset. But he'd just let the kids do whatever they want. To turn around a slap him, it was a Hollywood version of how to illustrate the frustration. It was uncharacteristic."
The Lincoln window will be on display until the end of the month.
"Lincoln," director Steven Spielberg's film about the 16th president and his battle to end slavery, topped all films with 12 nominations for the 85th Academy Awards.
Along with best picture, the film also earned nods for best director (Spielberg), best actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), best supporting actress (Sally Field), best supporting actor (Tommy Lee Jones) and best adapted screenplay (Tony Kushner).
The Acadey Awards will be televised at 6 tonight on ABC.