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Out of the office
By Chris Strunk
Last Updated: August 09, 2018

Friends complete statue tour

You talk about your summer roadtrips.

Amy Stamm and Susan Dunn drove 1,778 miles over the weekend and never crossed a state line.

Their quest: Visit all 25 Statue of Liberty replicas in Kansas.

"It was like a goal," Stamm said. "We're doing this. We're going to see them all. I would've been very disappointed if we just stopped and said, ‘OK, we're finished.'"

They didn't give up, despite the hours behind the wheel. It took them three days to complete the task. They left at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 3 and returned about 9:30 p.m. Aug. 5.

"It was super cool," Stamm said. "I would recommend it."

Stamm got the idea for the road trip from a post on Facebook. It described the 1950s Boy Scouts of America anniversary project to place Statue of Liberty replicas in each state. At the time, the program's director was from the Kansas City area, so Kansas got more than others.

She thought it would be cool to visit each of them, plus it was a chance to spend time with her best friend.

All of the statues were the same — eight and a half feet tall, constructed of sheet copper and weighing $290.

Some cities give their statues a royal treatment, making them the centerpiece of public parks, like the one at the Butler County Courthouse, which serves as a military veteran commemorative.

Stamm said other cities have let their statues fall into disrepair. The one in Wichita, for example, is missing points from the crown and the flame from the torch, and the face has been scratched.

Stamm said one of their favorites was in Kingman. They also liked the ones in Salina and El Dorado.

"El Dorado went above and beyond," Stamm said.

In alphabetical order, statues are in the following cities: Coffeyville, Colby, El Dorado, Garden City, Garnett, Glen Elder, Harlan, Hays, Hillsboro, Independence, Kingman, La Crosse, Leavenworth, Liberal, Medicine Lodge, Overland Park, Parsons, Pratt, Russell, St. John, Salina, Smith County, Topeka, Troy, Washington and Wichita.

Stamm and Dunn's trip started in western Kansas. After visiting seven statues, they stayed the night in Hays.

They knew where the statues were located; there's a list online. But they had to ask for directions to pinpoint their exact spot a couple of times.

When they reached a statue, they got out of the car, took pictures — including one with "Glory," the Beanie Baby bear wearing a crown that Stamm made — and read the accompanying plaques.

The drive was long and sometimes boring.

"A lot of the state is just straight roads, and there's just nothing to look at and I mean nothing, nothing to look at," Stamm said.

The second day took them to La Crosse, Russell, Glen Elder and across the north part of the state. Heading east, Stamm and Dunn stayed the second night at Overland Park. They were a bit behind schedule on the second day.

By Day 3, they made up for lost time and reached the end of their journey in Salina, where Stamm has relatives.

"It's something that not everybody could say that they've done," Stamm said.

To Stamm and Dunn, the trip was worth the long hours.

Stamm said she has visited the real Statue of Liberty in New York and values the statue's message.

"I do like what it stands for," she said. "… It's our welcome to the world."

You may recall one of Stamm and Dunn's other recent roadtrips.

Back in 2014, the pair drove nine and a half hours to Austin, Texas, to a Hillary Clinton booksigning. They turned around and drove back the same day.

Chris Strunk is publisher of The Ark Valley News. Reach him at 755-0821 or news@arkvalleynews.com, or find him on Facebook.




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