The Story Behind West Virginia’s Statue Of Liberty
In Fairmont, West Virginia you will find a statue that most people don’t even know exists. If you visit the VFW #629 located at 802 Fairmont Ave, you will see a replica of the Statue of Liberty. No, this statue is not made of gold, but the statue comes with an inspiring and heartwarming backstory.
In 1950, the Boy Scouts celebrated their 40th Anniversary. Usually, with each anniversary the boy scouts would mark the event with a camping trip to a special location. In 1950, however, the organization decided to celebrate in a way that would be remembered for years to come. They began the “Strengthen the Arm of Liberty” campaign. The campaign was kicked off just as many scouts were joyously welcoming their fathers back from WWII. The scouts raised funds to bring 200 extraordinary statues to different locations across the United States. Fairmont, West Virginia was one of the lucky recipients.
Each of the replicas cost $350. The scouts quickly began a campaign to raise the money necessary to make their vision a reality.
How the Statues are Made
The statues were manufactured by Friedley-Voshardt Co. located in Chicago, Illinois. The statues each stand 8 1/2 feet tall not counting the base. They were created using sheet copper. It is estimated that each statue weighs somewhere around 300 pounds. The production of these statues did not produce exact replicas of Lady Liberty. These smaller versions sport rounder, younger looking faces that give the statue the look of a child instead of an adult woman, but the results still inspire faith and belief in what the figure represents.
The statues were created between 1949 and 1952, and the Boy Scouts raised enough to purchase 200 of them. The statues were donated to 39 states in the United States as well as several of its territories.
Statue Stands Proud
Throughout the years many of the donated statues have been destroyed or lost, but the one donated to West Virginia still stands proudly in downtown Fairmont. The statue has been routinely maintained and remains in very good condition. The VFW #629 takes great pride in it and often decorates around it each memorial day in remembrance of soldiers lost.
The plaque beneath Fairmont’s Lady Liberty states that the statue is dedicated to “Veterans Of All Wars By American Legion Post 17.” Later, “2004” was added to the plaque to commemorate it being moved to its current location. The statue was initially placed in front of the American Legion Post #17 located on 207 Jefferson Street.
The city of Fairmont is exceptionally proud to display the statue, which is a symbol of freedom that should be treasured by all. If you are in the Fairmont area, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this significant symbol given to the city by young boys with big hearts.
If you are interested in more information about the “Strengthen the Arm of Liberty” campaign and the other states that were gifted with these statues click here.