There’s a hall in Washington, D.C., where each of the United States has two statues honoring its heritage. For decades, both the Kansas statues were Atchison residents who were prominent in the history of the state and nation.
George Washington Glick, ninth governor of Kansas and law partner of Alfred Otis (grandfather of Amelia Earhart in whose home she was born), was replaced in 2003 by a statue of General of the Army and U.S. President Dwight David Eisenhower. Glick’s statue had been donated by the state of Kansas in 1914.
Since neither man was a native of Kansas and Eisenhower was certainly more famous, that seemed an easy decision.
The statue of Glick, who died in Atchison in in 1911, was moved to Kansas Historical Society quarters in Topeka. He was a charter member and had served as president of that organization. I don’t recall where he’s buried, but I’m sure it’s somewhere in the Atchison area.
The thing is, now John James Ingalls is to be replaced by Amelia Earhart. Well, she is native to Kansas and Atchison, and certainly more famous than Ingalls. And he was not a native Kansan.
But if you Google Sen. Ingalls, you’ll find what a vital role in played in national history. There’s a school on Fifth Street in Atchison that’s named for him, and his grave is in Mount Vernon Cemetery in Atchison.
Now I have no influence with anyone who might be able to make this happen, but I wish the statue of Sen. Ingalls could came to Atchison. I realize it’s owned by the state, but he and his family are such a big part of Atchison. His son, Sheffield Ingalls, was a well-known author and historian. I have his book on Atchison county history. And years ago, a residential subdivision of Atchison was named for the Ingalls family.
It’s sort of ironic that Judge Otis’s law partner is gone, and his granddaughter is in, but life and history go on.
Meantime, is there anyone out there, or is there any way that Sen. Ingalls could be brought not just to Kansas, but to Atchison? Maybe if we all wrote to our elected representatives? To the governor’s office? To the Historical Society? Any other ideas? Anyone who can take up the cause? Anyone with influence?
Maybe it’s too late, maybe the decision to relocate the statue has already been made, but you know me. I just can’t stay off my soapbox.