Monday, August 24, 2015

The Hiker - Spanish American War Memorial - Baltimore

The Hiker - Spanish American War Memorial in Baltimore
E Fayette Street & N Lakewood Avenue (Street View)

I love monuments and memorials. When I travel if I see a monument  I have to take a photo of it. When I return home and start to label my photos I then take time to research the monument.  I have a learned a lot of history that I never saw in  a text book this way.  I've decided to so a series of blogs on some of the monuments from my home city of Baltimore.  One of Baltimore's nicknames is The Monumental City because of the number of monuments located here.  Some have become hidden or forgotten over the years.  But each is fascinating and has a unique story to tell.

"The Hiker depicts a hero stripped of his parade uniform and shown as a soldier reacting to the challenges of the battlefield."

This statue has a rich history that does not start with Baltimore.  The original statue  was created by Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson.  She created the statue to honor the American soldiers who fought in the Spanish-American War, the Boxer Rebellion, and the Philippine-American War.  The original statue was created for the University of Minnesota in 1906.  It became a very popular statue and copies have been made and placed in over 50 locations in the United States.  The one in Baltimore was dedicated on June 11, 1943 quite a few years after the original statue was created.

Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson was born in Massachusetts.   She was the student and wife of artist Henry Hudson Kitson.   She studied in Paris and became known for her work by the age of nineteen. The Hiker became her most famous work.

The statue stuck a cord with people.  Due to it's popularity in 1921 the Gorham Manufacturing Company in Providence, Rhode Island bought the rights to the statue.  They eventually cast at least 50 statues over the next 44 years including the one here in Baltimore.  

The Spanish-American War only lasted for ten weeks and is primarily remember for Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders.  However the conflict did spread to the Spanish owned Philippine Islands and the island of Guam.  The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1898.  It gave the United States temporary control of Cuba and ceeded ownership of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippine island to the United States.  So for me personally, with the historic reopening of diplomatic status with Cuba in 2015, this monument has great interest to me.  I am hoping to travel Cuba in the near future and explore the culture we have long ignored. 

Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson died in 1932 eleven years before the statue was dedicated in Baltimore.

The statue is 9 feet (2.7 m) tall and stands on a 6-foot (1.8 m) granite base, depicting a soldier clad in a period uniform with a campaign hat and a Krag-Jorgensen rifle



"The Hiker depicts a hero stripped of his parade uniform and shown as a soldier reacting to the challenges of the battlefield."

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