Madonna of the Trail, Springfield, Ohio.
Madonna of the Trail, Springfield, Ohio.

Madonnas of the Trail

A recurring piece of public statuary stands in twelve locations from Maryland to California, tracing a historic travel route from covered wagon days. The statue is the Madonna of the Trail, an 18-foot-tall tribute to the pioneer mothers who traveled west with their crazy husbands.

The Madonna of the Trail is a pinkish, stony-faced pioneer Mom, in long dress and bonnet, strutting westward with a rifle on one arm, an infant on the other, and another little cruncher grasping Mom's skirt.

The Madonnas of the Trail were a project of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution. They were erected in 1928-29, strung along the National Old Trails Road, now mostly US 40. The sites were chosen with the help of the president of the National Old Trails Road Association, a then-little-known Missouri Justice of the Peace named Harry S Truman.

Artist August Leimbach reportedly created the design in only three days (According to his grandson, he was later banished to Germany by the Americans and thrown in prison by the Russians). The poured algonite stone sculptures -- a mixture of crushed marble, Missouri granite, stone, cement and lead ore -- are identical. The historical info on the base of each varies from locale to locale.

Madonna of the Trail.

Nearly all of the five-ton pioneer moms face west, although subsequent contsruction projects have repositioned some statues in other directions.

To properly honor the pioneer spirit, one should retrace the entire trail, and photograph all twelve cookie cutter statues. Or, with less honor, take twelve photos of one and say you saw 'em all...

  1. Bethesda, Maryland
  2. Beallsville, Pennsylvania
  3. Wheeling, West Virginia
  4. Springfield, Ohio
  5. Richmond, Indiana
  6. Vandalia, Illinois
  7. Lexington, Missouri
  8. Council Grove, Kansas
  9. Lamar, Colorado
  10. Albuquerque, New Mexico
  11. Springerville, Arizona
  12. Upland, California

Also see: Mother's Day Shrine | Mom-uments to Mom

Madonna of the Trail

Address:
Main St, Springerville, AZ
Directions:
US Rt. 60 (Main St.) across from Post Office
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Madonna of the Trail

Address:
Euclid Ave., Upland, CA
Directions:
Foothill Boulevard and Euclid Avenue.
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Madonna of the Trail

Address:
S. Main St., Lamar, CO
Directions:
At the intersection of E. Beech and S. Main Sts.
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Madonna of the Trail

Vandalia State House Historic Site

Address:
315 W. Gallatin St., Vandalia, IL
Directions:
Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site. Southeast corner of the Vandalia State House Historic Site, which is the northwest corner of the intersection of N. Kennedy Blvd and W. Gallatin St.
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Madonna of the Trail

Address:
US Hwy 40, Richmond, IN
Directions:
East side of the city, on the north side of US Hwy 40 just east of the intersection of 22nd St.
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Madonna of the Trail

Address:
Main St., Council Grove, KS
Directions:
At the NE corner of Union and Main Sts.
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Madonna of the Trail

Madonna of the Trail

Address:
7400 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, MD
Directions:
On the east side of Hwy 355/Wisconsin Ave. just north of Montgomery Lane, next to a Bethesda post office.
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Madonna of the Trail

Address:
Commerce St., Lexington, MO
Directions:
West edge of town, on the northwest corner of Commerce St. and Highland Ave.
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Madonna of the Trail

Address:
Marble Ave. NW, Albuquerque, NM
Directions:
Southeast corner of Marble Ave. NW and 4th St. NW.
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Madonna of the Trail

Snyder's Park

Address:
WEst Main St., Springfield, OH
Directions:
North side of West Main Street between Fountain Avenue and Center Street.
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Madonna of the Trail

Address:
US Route 40, Beallsville, PA
Directions:
US Rt. 40, across from Nemacolin Country Club,12 mi. E of Washington, PA.
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Madonna of the Trail

Address:
US Route 40, Wheeling, WV
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