Washington, which already has more statues and memorials than any other American city, soon will get its first state memorial, a seven-foot bronze statue of a Maine lobsterman to be placed along the Maine Avenue waterfront this summer.
Although proposed by Maine congressmen in 1962 and 1967, it wasn't until two years ago that the Camp Fire Girls of Cundy's Harbor, Maine, with help from former senator and secretary of state Edmund Muskie, got behind the lobsterman. In 1979 Muskie introduced a joint congressional resolution authorizing the statue, to be called The Maine Lobsterman. It was approved last fall and signed by President Carter.
Washington has hundreds of monuments to individuals, and avenues and streets named for all the states. But until the bronze lobsterman is placed in a small park along Maine Avenue, opposite the Gangplank Restaurant, it will have no memorial to a state, according to the National Park Service. The statue is one of three bronze replicas of a plaster statue that represented Maine in the 1939 World's Fair in New York.
The 16 Camp Fire Girls of Cundy's Harbor, officials sponsors of the statue, don't have much money, says one of their leaders, Ruth Heiser. So they have appealed for donations through Maine newspapers. The cost of the statue and its transportation already have been donated, Heiser said, but a Maine granite base for the statue remains to be designed and built.
The Fine Arts Commission and other federal agencies have approved the statue and the site, according to the park service, and approval to the park service, and approval of the statue's base is expected to be routine.
"Money has been the problem since 1939," said Heiser. The state couldn't afford a bronze statue so the scupltor, Victor B. Kahill, painted his plaster model a bronze color. The state later cast three bronze replicas after the original began to deteriorate, she said.
"In 1962 a congressman from Boothbay introduced legislation to put the lobsterman in Washington if the state came up with the money. It didn't. The same thing happened in 1967, but the state again had no money," she said."Then we initiated an effort a couple years ago."
"We hope the girls can make the trip to Washington to dedicate the statue" this summer, Heiser said, "but that costs a lot, too."