Thaddeus Stevens Society Raises Funds For Stevens Statue

Thaddeus Stevens Society Raises Funds For Stevens Statue

The Thaddeus Stevens Society has contracted with Alex Paul Loza of Chattanooga, TN to sculpt a statue of Thaddeus Stevens, one of the greatest statesmen in United States history.

Stevens, who lived from 1792 to 1868, was the most powerful congressman during and after the Civil War and was instrumental in freeing the slaves and then trying to protect them after the war. He is also the father of the 14th Amendment, the single most important Constitutional amendment requiring equal treatment under the law and extending civil liberties to the state level.

“This is a giant step in honoring a man who did so much for the state of Pennsylvania and the nation,” said Ross Hetrick, president of the Stevens Society. “The statue will be a magnificent work capturing the spirit of the Great Commoner.” he said.

The $55,000, 6-foot bronze statue is expected to be completed in late 2021 or early 2022, in time for its dedication in April 2022, which will also mark the 230th birthday of Stevens. When completed, the sculpture will be only the second Stevens statue in existence. The first statue is at the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster.  The Stevens Society is currently investigating various locations for the statue in Gettysburg.

“My goal with the monument is to highlight Stevens’s determination and never-ending stance to fight for the less fortunate,” said sculptor Loza. “To visually and emotionally communicate this message I decided to place his body weight on his club foot and walking stick while his right foot is set to take another step forward. His left hand clings to his cane to reinforce his drive to always move onward, while the other hand is very close to his heart protecting and holding his legacy, the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments.” he said.

Loza, 41, is a native of Lima, Peru, and has lived in Tennessee since August 2010. A graduate of the American Academy of Art in Chicago, he has 20 years of experience in using clay and paint to immortalize people and their stories. His goal is to bring diverse communities together and reveal theprofound inter-connectedness of all people. He was selected as the sculptor after a nation-wide search that involved 20 submissions.

Franklin County connects to Thaddeus Stevens through the Caledonia Ironworks, now Caledonia State Park. The Franklin County Visitors Bureau worked with research historian Randy Harris on a successful application to the National Park Service to designated Caledonia as a NPS Network to Freedom site. More information on Thaddeus Stevens and the South Mountain Underground Railroad activity can be viewed here.

Ghost Pit Joins Stories on Mountain Tour – August 24

Ghost Pit Joins Stories on Mountain Tour – August 24

Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites the public to explore South Mountain in Stories of the Mountain Tour on August 24, 9 AM to 4:30 PM. South Mountain holds centuries of history and lore. The mountain forests fed the iron ore industry, sheltered escaping enslaved, saw the strife of Civil War and was reborn through Pennsylvania’s conservation movement. Life on the mountain is the story of small communities across America. Learn the secret, tangled routes of the Underground Railroad, visit a general store museum, hear the eerie story of the silvery lady of Pond Bank., and join the Ghost Pit (Paranormal Investigation Team) for a lunchtime investigation of Penn National Inn.

The tour begins at Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center, 9 AM, where participants will view “Road to Freedom,” a video about the Underground Railroad of South Mountain, the iron ore industry, and the beginnings of the conservation movement of Pennsylvania.  Stops include Caledonia State Park and Thaddeus Steven’s Blacksmith Shop and Preserving Our Heritage Museum, housed in a one-room schoolhouse with a relocated 1930 – 1950 general store. Learn about the South Mountain Restoration Center, where fresh air gave hope to thousands of tuberculosis patients. Discover the South Mountain connection to John Brown and his raiders.

Lunch is at Penn National Golf Course and Community, where the views of the mountain are breathtaking. After lunch, the Ghost PIT will invite tour participants to help investigate the “old inn,” on the Penn National property. Step back to 1812 and visit the Royer farmhouse at Renfrew Park and hear the story of the Renfrew Sisters, Daniel Royer, and the Nicodemus family. Continue up the mountain to Monterey Pass Battlefield where 10,000 Union and Confederate troops fought along the mountain ridge in a blinding thunderstorm during the late hours of July 4 and early hours of July 5, 1863, part of the retreat from Gettysburg.

Single tickets are $30/ person or two tickets for $50. Bring a friend and save!  Tour fee includes lunch at Founder’s Grille and all admission fees. Tickets can be purchased online here or by contacting the Franklin County Visitors Bureau at 866.646.8060.