Northfield has a rich history, including rich historical characters like John and Anne North, William and Susan Willis Carleton, Berndt Julius Muus, Charles Goodsell, Joseph Lee Heywood, the governors with local connections… I am sure we could expand this list greatly.
My vision was that each would be honored with a bronze statue in town, at a location appropriate to their connection/service to Northfield, all connected by a walking trail (or historical walking guide) that would allow people to come to Northfield and experience some of our history by foot. John and Ann North’s statue might grace Bridge Square. Joseph Lee Heywood’s statue might be at the entrance to the Northfield Cemetery or downtown by the bank, Berndt Julius Muus would be at the foot of Old Main at St. Olaf, etc.
It’s a big project and one not necessarily for these economic times, but if you consider such a vision (maybe someone already has at the Northfield Historical Society) you could begin to align artists and corporate support to build it out. Imagine this in combination with the fine cataloging of sculptures (and fine additions being planned) by ArtOrg and our town could feature an historic sculpture garden that would benefit both modern commerce while honoring our local history.
Arlen Malecha replied
David, I too have a vision similar to yours although mine was honoring more modern Northfield citizens who have been staples of the community. A statue of Maggie Lee outside the Northfield News office, Ed Klinkhammer outside the bakery looking across the street at his long-time pal Bob Jacobson, Orv & Jean Perman down on Division St., etc. It would be Northfield’s walk-of-fame.
I contacted the Arts Guild once to see if they would be interested in spearheading this endeavor but alas, it was not to be. But I do think it is an awesome idea!
See the ArtOrg page on Public Art in Northfield MN, which includes this slideshow: