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Native Heritage
June 8, 2016

C-T Photo Brittany Tutt

CAPTION: A local family recently donated a large bronze sculpture to Livingston County. The sculpture was placed on the southeast side of the courthouse.

A local couple has generously donated to Livingston County a historic and valuable bronze sculpture, created by an internationally renowned artist, Hermon Atkins MacNeil. The donors expressed their appreciation for the exceptional growth and progress made in Chillicothe over the years. "That progress has resulted from the continued efforts of so many long-time residents and business people of Livingston County. Their efforts to beautify the city and upgrade its infrastructure, including hospitals and schools, will have a lasting positive impact on all of our citizens. This is a small token of our appreciation," said the donor (who wishes to remain anonymous).

This sculpture is a powerful piece of art known as, "The Solitary Chief." It is made of bronze, weighing 1,500 pounds and standing 10 feet tall. The sculpture was originally completed by MacNeil in 1904 and is one of only 12 in a limited edition casting and is considered an extremely valuable piece of art. MacNeil's works are also on display in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. MacNeil was born in 1866 and lived in Portland, Oregon, where the original sculpture still stands in Washington Park. He led a generation of sculptors in capturing many fading American images and American history in the realism of classic style. According to the company which originally owned the casting rights, this sculpture has "a presence, an anatomical reality and raw spiritual power that emanates from this truly magnificent piece."

The Livingston County Commission placed this sculpture on the south east side of the courthouse where it can be viewed by the public. Chillicothe is a Shawnee term meaning, "The Big Town Where We Live." In light of the rich Native American history in Livingston County, the County Commission thought this would make a fine addition to the courthouse grounds. "We believe this sculpture makes an attractive statement about our proud legacy and the authenticity of our continued cultural progress," commented Livingston County Presiding Commissioner Ed Douglas.

The local donors stated that they prefer to remain anonymous because, "This isn't about one family's donation. It's about an entire community making progress together and providing a great quality of life without forgetting to protect its proud past," the donor said. A plaque will later be put on the front of the base of the sculpture, and it is planned to read: This sculpture stands as a thoughtful reminder that for centuries before this courthouse was even built, generations of proud Native Americans were pleased to call Chillicothe home. Chillicothe is a Shawnee term meaning, 'The Big Town Where We Live.'

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