Richard M. Nixon.
Richard M. Nixon.

Statue #37: Richard Nixon

Field review by the editors.

Rapid City, South Dakota

What do you do with a Problem President like Richard Nixon (1969-1974)? His most lasting image is of him waggling victory-sign fingers as he flew off in disgrace after resigning the presidency. Sculptor Edward E. Hlavka couldn't show that.

Nixon negotiates from the corner of St Joseph and 5th Sts.
Nixon negotiates from the corner of St Joseph and 5th Sts.

Instead, the artist focused on the 37th President's most impressive international accomplishment: visiting diplomatically shunned Red China and meeting with Mao Zedong. The sculpture shows Nixon sitting in a Chinese chair, negotiating with the unseen Chinese dictator. Unfortunately, since it's Nixon, his hard-focused eyes and tented fingers -- meant to convey gravitas and concentration -- might instead suggest a James Bond villain plotting world domination. The exotic chair doesn't help.

The Nixon sculpture is on the eastern portion of the statue walk, shaded beneath trees and set back from the sidewalk. He shares the intersection with Eisenhower, G.W. Bush, and James K. Polk.

Amazing Arcana of the Presidents

During Nixon's presidency he vetoed NASA's proposed moon base and manned trip to Mars. In their place, he approved the "Space Truck" - later renamed the Space Shuttle.

[Discover more fascinating details in the Roadside Presidents iPhone app!]

City of Presidents

Since 2000, Rapid City has commissioned and installed bronze statues of every former U.S. President on its downtown street corners. Visitors are encouraged to take a walking tour of the City of Presidents and inspect the nation's metallic Commanders in Chief. Paper guides are available year-round at the city's main Visitor Center at 512 Main St.

Roadside Presidents
Roadside Presidents App for iPhone. Find this attraction and more: museums, birthplaces, graves of the Chief Execs, first ladies, pets, assassins and wannabes. Prez bios and oddball trivia. Available on the App Store.

Statue #37: Richard Nixon

Address:
501 St Joseph St., Rapid City, SD
Directions:
Downtown. Southwest corner of St Joseph and 5th Sts.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Statue #34: Dwight D. EisenhowerStatue #34: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Rapid City, SD - < 1 mi.
Statue #43: George W. BushStatue #43: George W. Bush, Rapid City, SD - < 1 mi.
Statue #20: James GarfieldStatue #20: James Garfield, Rapid City, SD - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Cosmos Mystery Area, Rapid City, SD - 14 mi.

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