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The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

Staff Profile
Halle Larew
Halle Larew
Reporter

Secrets of City High: The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty outside City High is hardly a secret, but her history is unique and obscure
The original Statue of Liberty now sits in the main foyer

For years, Lady Liberty has stood proudly in front of City High. Though much smaller than her New York counterpart, she holds the same torch in her right hand and stone tablet in her left.

This statue is not the original. Before the looming presence of the green copper woman, another Statue of Liberty replica lived in front of the school. Nowadays, she has retired to the main foyer, where she calls a corner by the doors her home.

The original statue was part of a massive project undertaken by the Boy Scouts of America for their 40th anniversary. Her plaque and similar ones around the country read:

 

    • WITH THE FAITH AND COURAGE OF THEIR FOREFATHERS WHO MADE POSSIBLE THE FREEDOM OF THESE UNITED STATES:

 

    • THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

 

    • DEDICATE THIS REPLICA OF THE STATUE OF LIBERTY AS A PLEDGE OF EVERLASTING FIDELITY AND LOYALTY

 

    • 40TH ANNIVERSARY CRUSADE TO STRENGTHEN THE ARM OF LIBERTY

 

    1950

 

The statue’s plaque dedicates itself to the 40th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America (Estelle Hartz)

Over 200 statues in 39 states and territories were sold for $350 each between 1949 and 1951 as a part of the Boy Scouts’ effort to ‘Strengthen the Arm of Liberty.’ This initiative was created by Jack Whitaker, a Kansas City businessman.

Whitaker’s program was originally intended to symbolize freedom and national unity. However, since the implementation of these statues around the country, many have not been properly maintained and require complete restoration.

Our Statue of Liberty is not unique. Many of the Boy Scouts statues have been destroyed or lost, but there are still around a hundred remaining, including 25 in Iowa. Still, what makes the one in front of City High different is that it’s a replica instead of the original copper casting. In 2011, the statue that stood in front of City High for 62 years was restored and in its place, a green replica–mimicking the oxidation on the real New York statue–was introduced at City.

According to Mr. Bacon, the original statue from the Boy Scouts used to be a regular victim of pranks by West High. To prevent it from being stolen, the district filled it with concrete. Unfortunately, simple chemistry proved this to be detrimental to the copper cast.

“That stopped the pranks, but overtime, water would get into cracks in the concrete and expand and contract, causing the statue to crumble from the inside out.” Mr. Bacon said. During the winter, the water trapped in the statue would freeze, damaging the statue.

After the district replaced the original statue with the green replica in front of City now, some local retired metal workers took interest in the original.

“They took it home and worked on it for over a year, restoring it,” Mr. Bacon said. “They got it back in good condition and it is now displayed in the foyer.”

For Mr. Bacon, the statue represents the unity of City High. He believes that it is a great symbol of the school, following much of Whitaker’s original mission of liberty and fidelity to the United States of America.

To find out more about the statues around the country, you can visit libertysisters.com, which goes in depth about the history of the replicas and each statue around the country.

City High’s Statue of Liberty has the same triumphant stance as the original (Estelle Hartz)
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Lily Rantanen
Lily Rantanen, Opinion Co-Editor
Estelle Hartz
Estelle Hartz, A&E Editor
Shot for the moon, came out a star
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