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Lincoln look-alike commemorates 16th President's 200th birthday at AC-T

Thursday, February 5, 2009

In commemoration of his 200th birthday, President Abraham Lincoln made an appearance at the Albert City-Truesdale School Tuesday - or so it appeared.

Stan DeHaan, impersonator of the 16th President, walked in to the hushed gymnasium in a stately manner; the resemblance was uncanny. He spoke softly, sharing bits and pieces of Lincoln's life, stressing his involvement in the Civil War and reciting the Gettysburg Address and a portion of the inaugural address and his farewell speech given as he left his home in Springfield, Ill. to become president. He spoke also about Lincoln's assassination at Ford's Theatre.

DeHaan has been impersonating Lincoln for 17 years.

In 1982, he grew a beard for the Centennial at Newkirk and many people told him he resembled Lincoln. His daughter, a school teacher, asked him to come in to her class and talk about Lincoln's life. The third graders accepted him quite well. From that point, he has talked to a variety of groups of all ages and in several areas of the nation and has enjoyed learning about Lincoln.

In 1994, De Haan entered - and won - a Lincoln look-alike contest in Lincoln, Kan. In fact, De Haan is undefeated as a Lincoln impersonator, having won the same contest in 1996 and 2007 and capturing the title in Hodgenville, Ky., the site of Lincoln's birth.

DeHaan is an inch shorter than the rugged 6'4" Lincoln. His hands are large, like Lincoln's were said to be. He wears a size 14 shoe, as Lincoln did.

The AC-T students asked DeHaan many good questions and while they knew Lincoln would have been 200, they were curious about his age.

The 70-year-old cured the student's curiosity of seeing just how big the stovepipe hat really is. Several had the chance to try it on while others laughed to see it slide right past their tiny eyes, nose, cheeks and chin.

DeHaan made a presentation at the Albert City Library that evening. The library board was instrumental in bringing DeHaan to the community.

He has a good time and enjoys the response he receives from people who see him in his Lincoln attire.

"I enjoy reminding people of a great person," said the Orange City farmer.

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