|Historic photo of Wadsworth's original |
Boy With the Boot – without his boot
(Courtesy Ohio.com and
Downtown Wadsworth, Inc.)
It's a really nice civic gesture.
Wadsworth had their own copy of the iconic statue until the beginning of World War II. That's when it was taken down – and melted down – for scrap metal for the war effort. Now, the city would like to replace its statue in time for its Bicentennial and Memorial Day celebrations in May. The statue is going to be the centerpiece of a new memorial to Wadsworth's fallen soldiers.
The only unfortunate thing about this story is that it mentions and perpetuates the oft-repeated legend of the "Boy With the Boot" – that is, that the statue depicts a boy "taking water to Civil War soldiers." There is no known documented source for this story, or another one in which the boy is supposed to be using his boot to help put out a fire as a member of a bucket brigade.
These are merely attempts to assign a heroic meaning to something that is supposed to be whimsical and fun to look at.
Nevertheless, it's wonderful that Wadsworth is going to bring back part of its past with the installation of the new statue.
Why am I so interested in the statue? Because Sandusky's Boy With the Boot was the subject of an article that I wrote for The Black Swamp Trader & Firelands Gazette back in 2013. On Monday, I'll post an expanded version of it here on the blog.