Renditions Started of First “Trail of Governors” Statues

Story from The Miller Press

THIS IS ONE OF TWO proposed statues of Harlan J. Bushfield by artist Jim Maher, and the Facebook site states the Trail of Governors Foundation “likes” it.

Renditions started of first ‘Trail of Governors’ statues

This is the year that at least three of the previous governors of South Dakota will be erected along the “Trail of Governors,” which will connect the State Capitol and the Missouri River in Pierre.

The Trail of Governors Foundation has commissioned South Dakota artists to create life-sized, bronze statues of the state’s past governors.

The governor statues will follow the timeline and order established working from outside inward, i.e. the first year’s statues will include an early governor (Mellette) and a recent governor to leave office (Miller), as well as a mid-timeline governor (Bushfield).

Arthur C. Mellette was the final territorial governor (March 11-October 1, 1889), and the first governor of South Dakota when it became a state (1889-1893).

Walter Dale Miller was governor from 1993 to 1995. The Meade County rancher’s statue promises to have a Western aspect.

And the “mid-timeline” governor whose statue should be placed in 2012 is Harlan J. Bushfield, a Miller native who was South Dakota’s 16th governor, from 1939 to 1943.

James M. Maher of Belle Fourche has been commissioned to create the Bushfield statue, and he has provided two renditions.

The Trail of Governors Foundation was established in 2010. The foundation is relying entirely upon private donations and corporate underwriters to fulfill its vision. Dakota Prairie Bank and Leroy and Charlene Foster are providing interest-free loans to underwrite a portion of this project and up to four sponsors are needed to fund each statue. The South Dakota Community Foundation is also a project partner and all donations are tax-deductible. Up to four sponsors are needed for each South Dakota governor and donations are tax-deductible.

Pierre businessman Rick Jensen is the foundation’s president. He said the statues will form a trail through the state’s Capitol grounds and downtown Pierre which people can follow to learn more about South Dakota’s 30 previous governors as well as the state’s history. He said there is no other project like this in any other state.

Creation of the governors’ statues will be an ongoing process, which will continue to honor future governors.

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