Ben M. Wheat, 32

From 1949 to 1951, 195 replicas of the Statue of Liberty were erected in 39 states by the Boy Scouts of America.

The Scottish Rite Journal’s special issue in July 1996 devoted to the American flag sparked my patriotic fervor to tell you a story about our Statue of Liberty.

I was showing a visiting cousin some of Seattle, and we encountered a replica of Miss Liberty here at our Alki Point Park. (Alki Point is the area of first landing by the early Puget Sound explorers.) My cousin said, “We have one of these in the town square in Tahlequah.” His home, Tahlequah, Oklahoma, is a beautiful little village in northeastern Oklahoma on the edge of the Ozarks. It is the Capital of the Cherokee Nation with its headquarters and college, and it is also the home of Northeast Oklahoma State College.

I later observed Miss Liberty in Tahlequah during a visit. With my interest peaked seeing these two statues---both attributed to the Boy Scouts---I asked the Boy Scouts in Seattle for more information. Referred to the Scouts’ national headquarters in Dallas, I received a press release they had prepared to answer such inquiries, generated I expect by the repair and rededication of the Statue of Liberty for the nation’s birthday. (It will be recalled that the Freemason’s of North America, at that time, contributed $2,000,000 to the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation.) Actually, there are 195 of these replicas in 39 states in the USA and several of its possessions and territories. (The replicas, also erected in the Canal Zone, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines, differ slightly from the original with the torch held at a slight angle.) All were erected between 1949 to 1951 at the initiative of Jack P. Whitaker, a Kansas City Boy Scout aficionado and visionary. They were manufactured in Chicago and had a price of $350 each. Erecting the statues required additional funds of some $500 for shipping, constructing a foundation, landscaping, and the like. The statues were funded by Boy Scout troops and others to celebrate the Scout’s 40th anniversary theme, “Strengthen the Arm of Liberty.”

Large crowds gathered at the typical dedication ceremony of each of the 195 “Miss Liberty” replicas of the Statue of Liberty erected by the Boy Scouts of America throughout the United States from 1949 to 1951. The first replica was dedicated on November 20, 1949, in Kansas City, Missouri, in ceremonies attended by 6,000 persons. The program was originated by Jack P. Whitaker, a veteran volunteer Scouter and Scout Commissioner for the Kansas City Area Council. Measuring 8’4" from base to top of the torch, the statues have the appearance of cast bronze though stamped out of 42 sheets of copper, braced from the inside. For more information about the “Miss Liberty” statues, write to: Communications Division, Boy Scouts of America, 1325 Walnut Hill Lane, Irving, TX 75062--1296. Tel: 214--580--2270.

My cousin and I have decided to visit as many of these memorials as our travels permit. He has seen several as they are concentrated in the Mid-west with 26 in Kansas, 24 in Iowa, 22 in Colorado, and 11 inOklahoma.

How many have you seen? I plan to revisit Seattle’s Statue of Liberty replica which is currently undergoing repair due to vandalism. It is a heartwarming experience to see Miss Liberty displayed locally to remind one of the breath-stopping thrill of observing the original when entering New York Harbor!