Mother Iowa- One Statue to Keep

There’s been a lot of talk recently about statues. Which ones do we keep? Which ones should be moved to a place where they can be placed in a historical context to better help us understand why they were built?

But, we can all agree Carl Rohl-Smith’s Mother Iowa needs to stay.

The story behind it is as wonderful as the statue itself. The statue is one of eleven erected to honor Iowa’s Civil War veterans. The original statue was designed by native Iowan Harriet Ketchum. However, shortly after being chosen to have her statue cast, Ketchum died. So the prize went to the second place design. Rohl-Smith’s statue is… interesting. Titled “Mother Iowa,” the statue features a woman as “an allegorical figure of Iowa representing our state as a beautiful, youthful mother offering nourishment to her children.”

Okay, sure.

Even though the statue was finished in 1897, it wasn’t dedicated until 1945, as people tried to figure out how to describe it with children in the room.


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