Bertram Goodhue, the architect of the Nebraska State Capitol, proposed having the building face west instead of north. He thought the afternoon and setting sun would brighten and beautify his design.
West of the building was the memorial to Abraham Lincoln from the previous Capitol, and the planners were unwilling to move the statue. Also, the city fathers of Lincoln wanted the Capitol facing north so that it faced the downtown area of Lincoln.
The Lincoln Monument on the West Plaza of the Nebraska State Capitol predates the building of the current capitol. In 1903 the Nebraska Legislature created the Abraham Lincoln Centennial Memorial Association and dedicated ten thousand dollars in state funds towards the monument.
The citizens of Lincoln commissioned Daniel Chester French in 1909 to create the statue of President Lincoln placed on the west side of the capitol square. The architectural setting for the monument was designed by Henry Bacon.
The monument was dedicated in 1912 as part of the 2nd Capitol grounds with William Jennings Bryan addressing the crowd. The etching on the monument is that of the Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address delivered at the dedication of the cemetery at Gettysburg Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863.