No, that wasn't Abraham Lincoln down there on Pennsylvania Avenue yesterday, but it was a Lincoln look-alike and, with his Illinois twang, a Lincoln talk-alike as well.
The Lincolnian figure was former Illinoisan James A. Getty, now of Gettysburg, Pa. -- no kin, as far as he knows, of the town's founders -- who delivered Lincoln's Gettysburg Address to about 50 people attending the dedication of Washington's newest public space, Meade Plaza.
The plaza is directly in front of the U.S. Courthouse, where a realigned Constitution Avenue crosses Pennsylvania Avenue.
Its centerpiece is the monument to Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade, pictured to the right, which stood from 1927 until 1969 at the foot of Capitol Hill.
It had to be removed for construction of the I-395 tunnel beneath the Mall, and the reflecting pool now occupies its former site.
Meade, of course, was the commander of the Army of the Potomac who turned back Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg. Fort Meade also is named for him.
The allegorical 18-foot marble monument by sculptor Charles A. Grafly, with a heroic standing likeness of Meade facing Pennsylvania Avenue, was commissioned in 1915 by his native state of Pennsylvania and paid for largely with funds donated by schoolchildren.
Another figure on the monument is a scowling figure depicting death; that figure faces the courthouse.
In honor of the event, Mayor Marion Barry had proclaimed yesterday to be Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Day in the Nation's Capital.
Henry A. Berliner, chairman of the government-sponsored Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corp., said he had been told that the avenue itself, the nation's main street, was named for Pennsylvania as a consolation for its loss of the seat of government to the District.