A Story of . . .
American history, needlework, conservation efforts, music, and poetry
This is a Calendar of Days post: National Anthem Day
Statues are identifying landmarks in cities and towns across the country, but what's the story behind them? Were were curious about The Hiker in Portland, Maine. After some research: a poster and essay. Here's what we found:
More Than a Pigeon Perch:
Although The Hiker is larger than life and perched on a six-foot pedestal, this Spanish-American War veterans memorial on the north lawn of Deering Oaks Park is easy to overlook.
But do look—it’s a beautiful statue.
From the soldier’s wadded and rolled sleeves to the leather satchel reminiscent of today’s messenger bag, the details are captivating.
The Hiker is sculptor Theo A.R. Kitson’s most well-known work—at least 50 copies of the statue are installed across the country.
When the USS Maine anchored in Havana Harbor exploded and sank (on this day, February 15, 1898), it became a catalyst for the conflict that would follow. Under the rallying cry “Remember the Maine,” the Spanish-American War secured Cuba’s independence from Spain and remains one of the shortest wars on record. But that’s only the beginning.
Dig a little deeper and fascinating tales of science, circumstance, and cowboys emerge. For it was during the Spanish-American War that army medical scientist Dr. Walter Reed isolated the cause and stemmed the transmission of yellow fever plaguing the troops; eager journalists and competing publishing magnates gave rise to the dirty business of yellow journalism; and Teddy Roosevelt’s volunteer militia, The Rough Riders, found glory.
It was a short war, but a war with a decidedly jaundice pallor.
Where Is The Hiker?
From Maine to Utah to Tennessee, there are some 50 copies of The Hiker across the United States. Is there one in your town?
In the latest edition of Pursuits magazine, our feature "More Than a Pigeon Perch," takes a look at this local landmark, The Hiker, a statue by Theo A.R. Kitson.
It's a monument to the Spanish American War fought in Cuba . . . from the conflict itself ("Remember the Maine") to questionable journalism, Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders, and medical breakthrough, it's layered with meaning.
You may have heard of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, but do you know who Dr. Walter Reed was? This statue holds a clue.
At least 50 copies of The Hiker were cast and are located around the country.* We're looking for the others. This one is in Portland, Maine, is there one in your community? Post a comment and let us know.
*Because all 50 copies of The Hiker were cast by the same foundry and placed in different areas of the country, the statues are being examined for the effects of air pollution and climate based on location.
When Patrick Henry, Revolutionary War activist and politician, made a call to arms against Britain, he grabbed a letter opener, thrust it toward his chest and delivered his well-known line, "Give me liberty, or give me death." Very effective.
My collection of letter openers comes from antique shops and yard sales, and often feature personal engravings or business logos. A surprising selection (though far less ornate) are available at office supply stores, while stationery stores and boutiques offer a selections with more character, like this one we found at Izola.
The ABCs of Letter Writing / L= Letter Opener