Sunday, May 8, 2011

Whistler's Mother Monument

"A Mother is the holiest thing alive," Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote. The folks of Ashland, Pennsylvania agree. They have an 8 feet tall bronze statue to prove it. During FDR's presidency, there was a movement by the government to help small towns build an identity for themselves, and Ashland wanted a part of this. In 1937 the Ashland Boys association wanted a way to honor their mothers. They'd get that help from the federal government. After planning and voting, they agreed it should be a bronze statue of James McNeil's famous 1871 painting, "Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother," also known as Whistler's Mother. If you've seen the painting with the artist's mother, Anna Matilda McNeil Whistler, her blank, humorless expression doesn't exactly exuberate "mother of the year." Unfortunately for McNeil's mother she never realized how infamous she would become, she died in 1881, before her son ever became famous. I bet she never thought there would be a monument made in her likeness, either.

Needless to say I guess this was the boy's epitome of motherhood. On September 4, 1938, two local mothers- the oldest in the town at the time, 88 and 91 years old- unveiled the eight-foot statue seated on a three ton slab of granite. The monument is recognized as the only one of it's kind in the country. If you're in the mood for a salute to motherhood unlike anything else, this is the monument for you.

Those Ashland boys sure are show-offs, this pales in comparison to the card I got my mother last year. By the way the Boy's Association is still very active in Ashland and every year they host a parade that attracts thousands!
For other nearby Outta the Way spots!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is our town! After over 100 years, the parade was discontinued for 2 years & this year,2011, they are bringing it back !! Saturday, Sept 3 @ 7pm