Remembrance in Stone

Statue of Liberty

County: Cass County, North Dakota

Location: Main Avenue Bridge over Red River, S side, near Fargo end

Coordinates: N46o52.422' W96o46.648'

The original Statue of Liberty, as we all learned in school, was dedicated in New York Harbor in 1886 as a gift to the people of the United States from the people of France. It celebrated the friendship of the two peoples and their common values of human liberty.

Over the years, however, Lady Liberty came to mean other things. Because of her proximity to Ellis Island, she became a symbol of immigration and the American Dream of newcomers. During the Cold War the Statue of Liberty acquired another layer of meaning, embracing patriotism and loyalty in the face of the challenge of totalitarian communism. In that spirit a Kansas City businessman and Boy Scout leader named Jack P. Whitaker commenced a campaign for the Boy Scouts to place hundreds of 1/19th scale replicas of the Statue of Liberty in communities across the country. The Fargo, North Dakota, Lions Club decided to help out the campaign by purchasing a statue to be emplaced locally on behalf of the scouts. This was placed on a knoll in Island Park and dedicated on June 23, 1952.

Sadly, Fargo's Statue of Liberty, like many similar ones in other towns, fell into disrepair worsened by vandalism, including the loss of its torch-bearing arm. In 1984, however, the city parks and recreation department commenced an effort toward restoration. Dean Bowman received the contract for the restoration work. The statue, happily, was rededicated in a new location near the Main Avenue Bridge over the Red River in 1987, a year late for the centennial of Lady Liberty.--Research by Mark Popp, HIST 489, NDSU, Fall 2007

Recommended Reading

Dillon, Wilton S., and Neil G. Kotler, Eds. The Statue of Liberty Revisited. Washington: Smithsonian Institute Press, 1994.

Replica Statue of Liberty Search

Rethinking the Statue of Liberty

Photo Gallery Photos by Mark Popp, 30 November 2007

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Remembrance in Stone / Center for Heritage Renewal