PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.
The 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Edwin M. Stanton Statue in our court house yard will be marked by an observance on Sept. 10 at 11:00 am at the site of the statue.
The original event is remembered in our library collection by a program booklet titled, “Unveiling Bronze Statue, Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, by the Stanton Monument Association.”
Actually, the unveiling was on Thursday of that week, spanning Sept. 3 – 9 of 1911, which was called “Home Coming Week.”
Over 40 years had passed following Stanton’s death on Dec. 24, 1869 before a monument was erected in his native city.
Many suggestions had been made regarding a suitable monument for Stanton, but the first move in that direction came in 1893 when the Wells Historical Society was formed to plan and implement a Centennial Celebration for Steubenville’s 100th anniversary in 1897.
The Society proceeded with funding raising for a tablet to be placed on Stanton’s birthplace on Market Street, and leftover funds from that effort were set aside as the beginning of a fund for an appropriate monument to be erected later.
The efforts to acquire a suitable monument to Stanton continued well past the 1897 Centennial Celebration. Native artist Eliphalet Andrews offered to do a portrait painting of Stanton, which was ultimately placed in the court room of the County Court House in 1906.
From that effort came renewed interest in a statue of Stanton, to be produced by native sculptor Alexander Doyle.
In 1907, Doyle surveyed the southeast corner of the court house yard as a site for the Stanton statue, but decided that a location in front of the Market St. entrance would be better.
It is interesting to note that in 1963, the statue was moved from the court house steps to the original suggested site at the southeast corner of the yard.
A model of the statue was completed for review in March 1909 and several Ohio folks visited Doyle’s New York studio to see the product of his work. The modest bust had grown to a full statue of Edwin M. Stanton, yet another 2 years passed before the work was completed.
On Jan. 24, 1911, the Stanton Monument Association set the September dates for a week-long celebration, and work began on events and speakers.
The County Commissioners approved alternations to the steps to accommodate the new statue. New steps of Berea sandstone with extended steps and sidewalk would surround the pedestal.
The statue was taking shape in New York, with the clay model reversed with a wax liner which would be used to pour the bronze final product. Cast in several sections, the statue was riveted together and welded to make the joints invisible.
The statue was shipped from the Roman Bronze Works in Brooklyn on July 26, 1911, arriving in Steubenville 4 days later. It was joined with the pedestal in August in anticipation of the September dedication and celebration.
In reading the “Official Programme” of the Stanton Statue celebration, I find it remarkable that such a broadly encompassing event could be planned and executed even with the committee of many leading citizens of the day.
Next week, I will provide more details of this famous week.