William McKinley statue (Patigian)
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The McKinley statue for the purposes of this article refers to one of various statues of President of the United States William McKinley, specifically the 8.5-foot (2.6 m) bronze statue in Arcata, California.
This statue of McKinley was commissioned by 81-year-old 49'er George Zehndner in 1905.:22 Zehndner had met McKinley in 1901 and was much impressed by "the first modern president". The president's assassination soon after moved Zehndner to memorialize the president. Zehndner paid $15,000 for the nine-foot statue.:22
The statue was sculpted by Haig Patigian in San Francisco, California,:22 where it fell over during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake but was cushioned by a large plaster model that had braced its fall. The artist discovered his statue lying down in a foundry near the waterfront south of Market Street in San Francisco. Patigian feared his statue might melt, but he had to leave it since it was too large for him to move. A week later, the foundry owner told Patigian that the statue had been destroyed.
Patigian later discovered that his statue of McKinley had been saved from the burning foundry by the employee of a nearby machine shop, along with several passersby.:22 They had hauled the statue onto a truck, which succumbed to the flames. The statue was moved by steamboat to the nearby port town of Eureka in May 1906. Zehndner presented the statue to the city of Arcata on July 4, 1906, as "a gift to the city of Arcata for all time to come.":22 Two thousand people, more visitors than the town had ever received, came to Arcata for the unveiling.
The statue, located in the middle of the Arcata Plaza, is in the center of the town's cultural activity.:22 The statue has been embroiled in controversy in Arcata, a liberal college town in Humboldt County, California, since the 1970s.:22 Opponents of the statue decry McKinley's racist and imperialistic policies, while defenders support the statue's historical importance and characterize removal attempts as censorship.:22
- Media related to William McKinley statue, Arcata, California at Wikimedia Commons
- A narrative and pictorial history of the McKinley statue
- James Morgan, Osprey Online Fall 2001, Humboldt State University