FDR bust.

Strange FDR Sculpture on a Fireplace

Field review by the editors.

West Wyomissing, Pennsylvania

A sculptural tribute to President Franklin Roosevelt, with foggy origins, stands among the weedy overgrowth along a railroad right of way through a neighborhood.

Made of concrete, the upper half of FDR is poised atop what appears to be an outdoor fireplace pedestal of mortared rocks. The fireplace seems to be decorative, not functional -- perhaps a nod to the 32nd President's radio fireside chats to the nation. The Roosevelt bust was once painted flesh color, just like the ancient statues of Greece, but the whole thing is pretty weathered now. No smiling fireside chatter, no cigarette holder -- a serious FDR just stares down the block, away from the train tracks at his back.

The sculpture is attributed to West Wyomissing residents A. Gerlach and J. Kleiner, and may date from the 1930s-40s. It originally stood at the foot of an iron pedestrian bridge that crossed the railroad tracks, but that's long gone.

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Strange FDR Sculpture on a Fireplace

43 Morwood Ave., West Wyomissing, PA
At the dead-end of Morwood Ave., south side of the train tracks.
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September 28, 2020

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