6 of America’s Sexiest Monuments

By definition, they can’t be anything but rock hard
6 of America’s Sexiest Monuments

There are certain monuments that are must-sees for any trip across these great United States: the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, the Chicago bridge where the Dave Matthews Band bus unloaded 800 pounds of feces onto an open-air tour boat. 

Those are great and all, but we know what you’re thinking: What if those monuments fucked? Good news, fellow traveler. All across the country, there are memorials to its history’s greatest men and moments that will bring new meaning to the phrase “rock hard.”

Shirtless Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln wasn’t known as a hottie and even joked about it extensively, but as one of the few presidents you can claim as your favorite without getting much pushback, there’s no reason we can’t retcon his abs a little. To that end, in L.A.’s Spring Street Courthouse, there’s a massive statue of Mr. Lincoln, shirtless and ripped, carrying a book with one hand and coyly thumbing his waistband with the other. The Young Lincoln’s eight-foot height puts the average visitor right about at dick level, and his downward gaze lets you know that’s in no way a coincidence.

This is only all that weird in a modern context. In 1941, when the statue was created, it was all the rage to have the hots for Lincoln, even if that required a bit of colorful reimagination. The statue’s body is actually modeled on the artist, James Lee Hansen, who explained that it was topless because “from a sculpturing standpoint, it’s better to show the body without any clothes.” 

Strangely, he neglected to explain why it’s better to show the body with snug-fitting khakis.

‘Hey, Girl’ Lincoln

The Young Lincoln was far from the only bizarrely sexualized depiction of Lincoln or even the only one named The Young Lincoln. In Chicago’s Senn Park, a 13-foot bronze statue smolders from on high, with its shirt unbuttoned halfway down its chest and sleeves rakishly pushed up to its elbows, leaning to one side and abashedly pawing a book as if to say, “Hey, girl, you caught me reading about justice and how to please a woman.”

Like the other Young Lincoln, it was created during the Lincolnmania of the 1940s, but it wasn’t installed in the park until 1997, after the family of the artist, Charles Keck, donated it to the Chicago Public Library. Before that, it was presumably stored deep within the world’s largest nightstand.

Toga George Washington

Before all those Young Lincolns, however, was Horatio Greenough’s George Washington, commissioned in 1832 for the centennial of the first president’s birthday. The towering 12-foot statue depicts a fiercely perched Washington, holding a sword and wearing his typical outfit of… an artfully draped sheet that bares his rippling pecs for all to see.

Greenough’s creation caused a normal amount of fuss among Washington’s loyal public. He explained that the president’s 18th-century uniforms would have looked dated, so he sculpted him as the powerful Zeus, but they didn’t think a toga was befitting the fatherest of Founding Fathers. Still, they put up with it for some reason until 1908, when Congress voted to move the statue to the Smithsonian because, no shit, he looked cold. We can’t go around letting America’s daddy get shrinkage.

Beckoning Benjamin Franklin

As we saw with Lincoln, context is crucial when it comes to sexy monuments. For example, this statue of Benjamin Franklin on a bench in Glendale, California didn’t always appear to be leering at you over the top of his famous bifocals.

When it was installed in 1990, Big Ben was depicted holding a cane and perusing a copy of the Declaration of Independence. There are similar statues in Philadelphia, all over California and countless other locations.

Sometime in the early 2000s, though, someone in Glendale figured out how to pry Franklin’s accessories from his cold, dead fingers, presumably to sell as scrap metal and earn a special place in Toby Keith’s vision of hell. Now, with nothing in his hands, Franklin looks like he’s beckoning you over to sit on his lap and let him put his arm around you and/or pointing to the ground between his legs, where he thinks your knees should go.

The Ripped ‘Monitor’ Memorial

John Ericsson was a Swedish engineer who designed the first ironclad warship commissioned by the U.S. Navy during the Civil War, the U.S.S. Monitor, which ended up being involved in the war’s first battle fought with such ships. This is not him.

After all, engineers don’t tend to have that body-fat percentage. The statue, built in the 1930s by Antonio de Filippo and located in Brooklyn’s Msgr. McGolrick Park, instead “depicts a heroic male pulling a rope attached to a capstan,” though his languid pose would be extremely inefficient for such work, “symbolizing Ericsson’s role in military-maritime technology and honoring the memory of the men of the Monitor.” They were apparently all male models.

Naked Washington

Originally, Antonio Canova’s George Washington wasn’t all that sensational. Sure, it dressed him up as a Roman general, all the better to show off the bulging calves of his slinkily crossed legs, but he was technically fully clothed, so it was an improvement. The finished statue doesn’t even exist anymore, having succumbed to a fire just 10 years after it arrived at the North Carolina State House and replaced with a plaster replica. What those scandalized by shirtless Washington should be glad they didn’t live to see was something no one was intended to.

Yep, that’s our founding father hanging full dong, or at least some fuzzy approximation of dong. It’s one of Canova’s preliminary models, a matter of course for sculptors, which wasn’t seen in America until nearly 200 years later, when it was lent to the Frick Collection in New York City in 2018. In the sense of a permanent installation, it may not really be considered a monument, but if not, we’d like to know what Washington’s hog is.

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