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Madonna of the Trail Receives Restoration

The Madonna of the Trail statue in Glen Miller Park recently received a "makeover",
leaving her "complexion" noticeably brighter.

Photo taken October 13, 2005

Richmond's Madonna of the Trail recently received a makeover
by Rachel Sheeley, published in the Palladium-Item, September 20, 2005
 
- Reprinted with permission of the Palladium-Item

The Madonna of the Trail - a statue of a pioneer woman with one child clinging to her skirt, an infant in her arm and her other hand grasping a rifle - was dedicated Oct. 28, 1928. It is one of 12 Madonna monuments erected along the National Road to commemorate the history of the roadway.

The monuments were erected - one per state - through the efforts of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the National Old Trails Road Association, led by President Harry Truman, who was then a Missouri Justice of the Peace.

Truman helped select the Richmond site for the Madonna and attended her dedication.

During the 75th anniversary year of the Madonna, the Indiana DAR organized a rededication in August 2003.

According to a pamphlet, the Madonna statue's face is "strong in character, beauty and gentleness … the face of a mother who realizes her responsibilities and trusts in God."

The Richmond Madonna was erected in memory of Mrs. Frederick S. Bates, original chairman of the DAR in Richmond who worked to have the monument erected in the city. Her daughter, Elizabeth Bates, unveiled it in 1928.

The statue received a restoration in 1988, but continued weathering led to the need for the recent Indiana DAR restoration.

Madonna facts

• The Madonna is 10 feet tall and weighs about 5 tons.

• The base on which the Madonna stands is 6 feet high and weighs about 12 tons.

• The base's foundation stands 2 feet above ground level, bringing the total monument to 18 feet tall.

• The figure and base are made from algonite stone, a poured mass of which Missouri granite is the main aggregate.

Inscriptions

• Front: Madonna of the Trail, NSCAR memorial to the pioneer mothers of the covered wagon days

• Back: The National Old Trails Road

• East: The first toll gate in Indiana stood near this site on the National Road.

• West: A nation's highway! Once a wilderness trail over which hardy pioneers made their perilous way seeking new homes in a dense forest of the great Northwest. (The verse is attributed to Mrs. J.H. Hornaday, a Richmond DAR member who supported efforts to obtain the statue for Richmond)

 

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