Family donates bench honoring Carl Sandburg to Galesburg's Central Park

Don Moffitt, a retired house member of the Illinois General Assembly, worked with local historians like Rex Cherrington on what to include of Carl Sandburg's life on the bench.
Don Moffitt, a retired house member of the Illinois General Assembly, worked with local historians like Rex Cherrington on what to include of Carl Sandburg's life on the bench.

GALESBURG — A new bench has been added outside the statue of Carl Sandburg in Galesburg’s Central Park.

The bench, which was donated by Don and Carolyn Moffitt, was installed in October and was originally born out of a fundraiser for the former Galesburg Public Arts Commission, the group that organized to have the statue of Sandburg erected approximately six years ago.

Moffitt, a retired house member of the Illinois General Assembly, said he was first approached by the Galesburg Public Arts Commission approximately four years ago to help fund a bench for the park, but took time to consult local educators and historians to determine what should be on the bench.

Prepared by Lacky & Sons Monuments, a Sandburg quote and various facts about the famous poet’s life are carved into the bench’s sides.

Moffitt emphasized that the bench inscriptions are to help honor the legacy of a Galesburg native who received many honors and was involved in occupations other than writing, including working as a firefighter, milkman and ice harvester.

In doing so, Moffitt called particular attention to the Sandburg quote on the front side of the bench: "When a nation goes down, or a society perishes, one condition may always be found; they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what had brought them along."

There is one other bench around the Sandburg statue, donated by the Verene family, though there is space for four total.

Linda Hinrichs, who was a treasury secretary with the Galesburg Public Art Foundation, said a project to have people sponsor bricks and benches around the statue of Sandburg came about after the statue was completed. She said the funds raised were then transferred to the now Galesburg City Art Center after the foundation disbanded.

The bench donated by Don and Carolyn Moffitt was organized by the now disbanded Galesburg Public Arts Foundation.
The bench donated by Don and Carolyn Moffitt was organized by the now disbanded Galesburg Public Arts Foundation.

This article originally appeared on Galesburg Register-Mail: Carl Sandburg honored by bench beside statue in Galesburg Central Park