Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Learning about Our 34th President at the Eisenhower National Historic Site

There's a lot to see in scenic Adam's County and I've had more than a few opportunities to visit the area since it's an easy drive from my home. I've gone on hayrides, toured the Battlefield on a Segway, taken a really great food tour , studied the Cyclorama and frequented the many restaurants and farm stands. What I've neglected to do all these years is visit the Eisenhower National Historic Site located just outside of Gettysburg.  Last week, I spent a leisurely hour touring the many rooms inside and the immediate grounds outside. We are all able to do this thanks to Ike and Mamie who gifted the property to the federal government in 1967, with the caveat that the couple could live there for the duration of their lives. Today the destination is owned and operated by the National Park Service.
Eisenhower farm
A front view of the home of Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower.
Choosing the Area

Eisenhower was born in 1890 in Denison, Texas, but became familiar with the Gettysburg area after his West Point graduating class visited the battlefield in 1915. This would be a busy time in Ike's life. He celebrated his nuptials the following year, marrying Mamie Geneva Doud and two years after that he was assigned to nearby Camp Colt, which was the first post to train soldiers to use tanks during World War I.

Ike's long army career kept him from putting down roots anywhere for years, so when he accepted a position as President of Columbia University in 1948, Mamie requested a permanent abode. Friends George and Mary Allen who lived on a farm in the area had nothing but nice things to say about the region, so the couple began their search.

By 1950, they had set their sights on what some have described as a "run-down" farm, for which they paid $44K. The fixer-upper wasn't without its charms. It was far enough off the road to retain a fair amount of privacy and fit the bill for Mamie's stipulation that the home pre-date the Civil War.

It would be years before the couple could move in, not exclusively due to the extensive renovations they undertook which would cost about $200,000, but also because Ike was named Supreme Commander Allied Forces Europe the year that they purchased the farm. The NATO position was very important to Eisenhower, who considered it the most important military job in the world, so he took leave from Columbia to fulfill his duties, part of which were to tour European capitals to convince them to bolster their defenses. In 1952, having completed what he set out to do in NATO, he stepped down and began two successful presidential runs, winning the presidency handily each time. The Eisenhowers began living in the house full time after President Kennedy's Inauguration in 1961.

Getting There

To purchase tickets to the Eisenhower National Historic Site, first visit the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, then take the shuttle bus to the Eisenhower property. There, a guide will provide background information on the Eisenhower farm before allowing entrance to the time capsule of a home, where 98 percent of the furnishings are owned by the family.

The Rooms

Living Room 

Eisenhower living room
Ninety-eight percent of the furnishings in the Eisenhower house are original.

sofa
I found this tufted circular sofa quite attractive, albeit unconducive to curling up with a book.

Tabriz rug
The marble fireplace dates to 1873 and was removed from the White House by President Grant.
The living room showcases gifts the couple received from friends and heads of state. They include a mother-of-pearl inlaid, black lacquer coffee table from the Republic of Korea and a silk Tabriz rug from the Shah of Iran.

The attractive marble fireplace was removed from the White House in 1873 by President Grant and was an anniversary gift from the Eisenhower White House staff. The painting of Prague above the mantel was present to General Eisenhower by its citizens at the end of World War II. According to the guide, Ike spent little time in this room, declaring it to be "too stuffy."

Entrance Hall 

foyer
Mamie asked that all visitors sign a guestbook located in the entrance hall.
Mamie's love of the color pink is evident throughout the house and I found this hanging light to be especially pretty.  This is the area where Mamie asked all visitors to sign her guest book. In the curio cabinet are Mamie's knickknacks, including a presidential plate she purchased from the nearby Stuckey's souvenir stand, along with plastic figurines of presidents and first ladies that she collected from cereal boxes.

Dining Room

dining room
A formal dining room for hosting family and friends.

If you haven't figured it out by now, the Eisenhowers were rather down-to-earth folks. According to accounts, they preferred to dine on TV trays on the porch, but when family and friends visited, they ate dinner in the formal dining room. A tea service which guests will see on display was purchased by a young Ike for Mamie on a piece-by-piece basis with money he made on poker winnings.

Master Bedroom

bedroom
Mamie's love of pink is evident in the Master Bedroom.
Mamie believed that once a woman reached the age of 50, she was entitled to stay in bed until noon. Isn't that special? She took visitors here, met with staff members, wrote correspondence and performed other day-to-day activities while propped up on pillows.

During the years in which Mamie was first lady, it's said that the popularity of the color pink soared. This might be one reason why we see so many pink bathrooms in examples of mid-century modern homes and here in Mamie's own house.


bathroom
Mamie's dressing room and bath.
Mamie was said to have loved it because it was flattering. She not only decorated with it, but wore it as well. One dress which made quite a splash is the pink gown studded with pink rhinestones that she wore to Ike's inauguration. 

You'll see her favorite color repeated here in the master bedroom. Mamie was fond of taking a stick of wood with her favorite colors--green, pink and a cream color--on all of her military moves so that she could recreate what felt like home by rolling out her rugs and having the rooms painted in her favorite colors.

Maid's Room
bedroom
The maid's room in the original portion of the house.
This room was where Mamie's maid Rose Wood slept and worked. It, along with the kitchen and pantry, is located in the portion of the original home that was salvaged when the Eisenhowers renovated.

Guest Rooms

A few of the guest rooms at the Eisenhower abode. The most famous visitor to spend the weekend was Prime Minister Nehru of India in 1956.

guest room
bedroom
bedroom with chenille bedspread
Plenty of chenille spreads here, which reminded me of my grandmother, who also had amassed quite a collection over the years.


Kitchen
kitchen
Compared to many of today's modern kitchens, this kitchen is rather modest.
It's said that Eisenhower enjoyed cooking much more than Mamie. Ike, who had Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors, enjoyed making soups, stews and Pennsylvania Dutch breakfasts. He also enjoyed barbecuing outside. The person who used the kitchen the most however was Delores Moany who worked as cook and housekeeper for the couple and passed away in 2014.
sun room
The Eisenhowers' favorite room was the porch where Mamie watched tv and played cards and Ike pursued his painting hobby.
The porch was the Eisenhowers' favorite room and it's no wonder since the wall of floor-to-ceiling windows allow in so much natural light and the view isn't bad either. The full effect isn't apparent since the curtains are always pulled for preservation purposes.

Ike, who took up painting later in life, enjoying practicing his oil painting hobby here.

The Den

Ike spent many hours in his cozy den reading and playing bridge with friends. The fireplace you see here was brought in from a summer kitchen which was located near the house and wood salvaged from the original structure was used to construct the floor and ceiling.
den
Ike spent hours reading here and playing bridge with friends.
 The Grounds

Upon exiting the house, guests can take a self-guided tour of the grounds and learn more about each stop by calling in to a special number which offers additional information on everything from the secret service office, to the guest house where David Eisenhower stayed one summer while working for his grandfather as a farmhand.

Because Ike loved his golf, there is also a putting green on the property, which was installed by the Professional Golfers Association.

To get a better idea of what the outside of the property looks like, I'll leave you with this short film, courtesy of Destination Gettysburg.


As we wind down the season, it's best to call to find out when tours will be held during the cooler months. You can learn more about this interesting and enduring piece of history in Pennsylvania by visiting the Eisenhower National Historic Site here.



Monday, September 23, 2019

Witnessing the Wonder of Indian Echo Caverns

cave
Students are frequent visitors to Indian Echo Caverns.
Located along the east bank of the Swatara Creek in Derry Township, Dauphin County, is a limestone cave that has been attracting explorers for thousands of years. Author Richard Hartwell, who wrote Indian Echo Caverns..a History, speculates that the first visitors could have been the wooly mammoths, citing a portion of the jaw of an extremely large animal that had been unearthed by a farmer in the 1850s. Hartwell quotes a writer who saw the find and described it thusly: "the teeth measure three-and-one-half, by seven-and-one-half inches and were evidently grinders of some animal of long ago, unknown to the zoological history of ancient, or modern times." Hartwell goes on to say that scientists now know that these were the teeth of the mastodon, or wooly mammoth.

Other interesting finds include spear heads located about a mile away from the caverns, causing Hartwell to  speculate that the gigantic animal could have been felled by early hunters who resided in the caverns.

Later, the Susquehannocks are said to have made their home there. It’s a mystery as to how long the occupation was, but speculation has it that before the end of the Archaic Period (8,000 B.C. – 1000 B.C.) they were living in other types of above-ground shelters. By the middle of the 1670s, the Susquehannocks were driven out by the Iroquois and Senecas.

The first to offer a description of the caverns for public consumption was Rev. Peter Miller of Ephrata, according to Hartwell. He called the caverns the “Grotto on the Swatara” in a letter he penned to be read before the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia on March 3, 1783. In his letter, Miller describes the beauty of the cave and bemoans the fact that the country people were destroying it, which leads Hartwell to the conclusion that people were using it before the land was “warranted” in 1754. How exactly the beauty was being destroyed is made clearer in another letter written by the first Prothonotary of Dauphin County, who complains that the natural color and sheen of the walls was obscured by curious travelers carrying torches into the cave. Evidently the general public wasn't as preservation oriented as we all are today, judging by these early reports and the accounts of a Frenchman who traveled through Pennsylvania in 1794 and wrote about it in a journal in which he describes the interior as resembling Gothic architecture. “I cut off some stalactites, which I am keeping…” he wrote. Then there's the account of a a Philadelphia merchant who also visited the cave in the 1700s, only to return some 20 years later. “It has been much disfigured during that period by the frequency of burning straw, which is always used to light the apartments by strangers,” he wrote in his diary in 1817. After a bit of research, I discovered that the use of the word "apartments" here simply means "separated places" and indeed there are many in the cave, one of which was inhabited by a recluse, known as the Pennsylvania Hermit, which I'll mention more about later in this post. 
cave
The Crystal Ballroom.

cave
One of many "apartments" within the cave.
According to Hartwell, initial ownership of the caverns is a little murky, but one thing we know for sure is that it has been traced to a Samuel Brehm who died in 1927 and E.M. Hershey, who sold it to Dr. U.S.G. Bieber, who served as Mayor of Kutztown and decided to commercialize the venture. A state charter was granted to Indian Echo Cave, Inc. of Hummelstown and the capital stock was $125K. Incorporators were Bieber, Marie Bieber and D.M. Ryan of Lancaster. The purpose of the new company was to “purchase, develop and operate a natural cavern for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”

stalagtites
Known as the "corncob," for good reason.
The group went to work ensuring that drain tiles were laid, material at the mouth of the cave was removed, stairs were built over fallen rocks, steps were constructed on the treacherous cliff to the entrance of the cave and 1700 lights were installed to illuminate every part of the cave. The corporation also installed a tree-lined driveway and converted a farm house into Indian Echo Inn, according to Hartwell.  In May, of 1929, businessmen, clergymen, politicians and others made it a point to visit the cave for its grand opening and then retired to the Inn for a repast.

The Pennsylvania Hermit
According to a well-circulated story, William (Amos) Wilson, was born in Lebanon in 1774 before moving to Chester County with his parents and his sister Elizabeth, who was two years his junior. While working at a Philadelphia hotel, Elizabeth was seduced by a man who promised to marry her. She became pregnant, ultimately giving birth to twins, as her lover reneged on his promise. Not long after the birth, hunters discovered the bodies of the infants in a nearby wooded area and she was charged with murder and sentenced to be hanged. Wilson pleaded the case to the Governor in Philadelphia who was moved enough to grant a stay of execution. Unfortunately, Wilson was stymied in his efforts to deliver the stay due to torrential rains and impassable streams. Elizabeth was hanged despite her brothers best efforts to save her and it was later suggested that the father was to blame for the murders.

Wilson ended up in the Hummelstown area and wracked with grief, sought shelter in the cave, isolating himself from the outside world, except to exchange goods for his support. He earned a living by making grindstones for farmers and spent 19 years there before passing in 1821.

A Dinner in the “Ballroom” of the Cave
Another interesting tidbit Hartwell shares in his book is a dinner held in the “Ballroom” of the Cave, held for the retiring principal of the Hummelstown Schools in 1934. This must have been quite an undertaking for the staff since there are dozens of stairs to negotiate in entering and exiting the cave.

The Sale after the Depression
The Corporation running the Indian Echo Cave and Inn failed during the Great Depression.  Eventually, control reverted to the Hummelstown National Bank. The Indian Echo Inn and its parking lot were sold separately and the Cave was purchased in 1942 by entrepreneur Edward Stover Swartz of Derry Township. A graduate of Hershey High School, Swartz initially pursued a career as a banker, but plans changed with the onset of the Depression. Swartz also opened up a service station, which grew into Swartz Service and Electric on the Hummelstown Square. For a time, Swartz also dabbled in the entertainment field, offering shows featuring country western music and comedy acts.

An Intriguing Find
One of the more interesting tidbits associated with Indian Echo Caverns lore is the mystery box found in 1919. According to Hartwell, five young men discovered the box in the “deepest recesses [of the caverns] beneath a heavy rock.” Contents of the box include a coin dating back to 480 B.C. and another dated 1288. Additional coins found in the collection hail from regions of the world like Egypt, Greece, Italy, the Byzantine (now Istanbul), England, Guatemala, China and Austria. A many-sided small block covered with strange characters was thought to be hollow, until a diminutive plug was discovered. When the plug was removed, a cylinder was found inside with directions on how to make diamonds with the aid of lightning. A small package, labeled “diamonds in the rough” contained moonstones. Jewelry was also found and included a cameo engraved “My Mother.”  The box is now in the permanent collection at Indian Echo Caverns and is on display in the gift shop, located near the parking lot, which many visit on their way into the caverns, or upon exiting.

turkey
Animals like turkeys and peacocks capture the attention of young and old as they await their tour.

turkey

peacock
A peacock looks out over the parking lot.
Indian Echo Caverns has managed to survive many years as a commercial venture and interest seems to ebb and flow with the changing times. Summer is generally the most popular time to visit since the caves maintain a cool 52 degrees year round.

For planning purposes, guided tours are conducted on the hour and last approximately 45 minutes.  Photography is permitted. Be sure to don comfortable footwear, preferably with closed toes since visitors have been known to step in small puddles that have formed around the cave.

To see additional pictures and learn more about hours of operation and rates, visit the Indian Echo Caverns website here.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

Visiting the Grounds for Sculpture

The Van Gogh Cafe at the Grounds for Sculpture (photo courtesy of David W. Steele)
If you're searching for unique things to do in New Jersey, I recommend the Grounds for Sculpture. My friend and I decided to take a bus trip to the destination during the dog days of summer, which, in retrospect, wasn't the best time of the year to visit. First of all, our bus encountered heavy traffic on the way to Hamilton Township, New Jersey and and secondly, temperatures soared into the mid 90s, so we were more than a little overheated. The good news is that it was a bright, sunny day, perfect for pictures. But because we were on a limited schedule of about 90 minutes, we were able to view just about a third of the expansive collection. What we did see, however, was impressive and approachable and I'm inspired to return in the autumn when the weather is cooler.

Grounds for Sculpture Founder Seward Johnson
Seward Johnson was born in 1930 and attended the University of Maine before enlisting in the Navy and subsequently spending four years on the U.S.S. Gloucestor (PF 22), the only ship hit by enemy fire during the Korean War. Later Seward settled in New Jersey and raised a family. Seward's artistic career began with painting before his interests turned to what would later become his main body of work. His first cast work of sculpture won the Award in Steel competition, besting around 7,000 entries. He was practically self taught, unless you count a few classes he had taken in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Another interesting fact about Seward Johnson is that his name is used in conjunction with many products Americans buy on a regular basis. He is the grandson of the co-founder of Johnson & Johnson.

Today his works are exhibited internationally in public and private art collections. His work is comprised of three series: 'Beyond the Frame,' inspired by Impressionist paintings, the 'Celebrating the Familiar' man on the street works and 'Icons Revisited' based upon images of the collective unconscious.

These days Johnson spends his time in New York City, Nantucket and Key West.

Arriving at the Grounds for Sculpture
The 42-acre sculpture park and museum is located at 80 Sculptor Way, Hamilton Township, New Jersey, formerly known as the New Jersey fairgrounds. Grounds for Sculpture became a nonprofit organization in the summer of 2000 and subsists on revenue from visitors, art patrons, donations and grants.

When we arrived, the first thing we encountered was a larger-than-life sculpture of King Lear as we made our way to the Seward Johnson Center for the Arts' Welcome Center. There guests can roam the galleries to view the rotating exhibits, purchase gifts at the museum shop, or grab a bite to eat at the Van Gogh Cafe. The Cafe is worth a visit, whether you're hungry or not, for the view of the ceiling alone, which is a tribute to the artist's famous "Starry Night" painting.
sculpture
"King Lear," by Seward Johnson, greets guests.
The second sculpture that we encountered after arriving was located at the top of a grassy hill across the street. Titled, "Confrontational Vulnerability," the reclining nude relaxes on a bed and is joined by a black cat with an arched back near her feet. The sculpture is Johnson's full-size reconstruction of Manet's famous painting, "Olympia."
Sculpture
"Confrontational Vulnerability," by Seward Johnson.
Because we were short on time, we decided strike out on our own with the handy map provided at the visitors' center, which offered a breakdown of artists, the names of their works and the zones where we could find them. I also noticed that there was usually a marker near each piece, which also contained identifying information.

Sculpture
"A Little to the Right," by Seward Johnson.
"A Little to the Right" deserves a mention for its realistic lines, from the folds in the sweaters, to the pleats in the skirt. I learned later that each life-size bronze takes Johnson approximately two years to complete. Johnson was said to have chosen this medium not only because bronze is strong enough to endure nature's harshness over periods of time, but also because it flows well in a ceramic mold, making details very crisp.

sculpture in water
Bruce Beasley, Dorian, 1986, stainless steel, edition 1/2, 240 x 360 x 120 inches. Grounds for Sculpture, Gift of The Seward Johnson Atelier.
During our visit we encountered various bodies of water where artwork was the focal point. This piece is named "Dorian," by Bruce Beasley, who is known as one of the foremost sculptors on the West Coast. In the 1980s, Beasely created many stainless steel works such as the one pictured above.

life like sculpture of a man
"Far Out," by Seward Johnson.
Seated nearby the lifelike Johnson sculpture pictured above was a family enjoying a picnic on a park bench. We witnessed more than one person crack a joke about almost mistaking the family for one of Seward's pieces. I could make a bet that by the time the family was digging into dessert, they were ready to get out of there before the next clever observer encountered them.

"Depression Breadline," by George Segal.
Seward Johnson sculpture
Seward Johnson, Dejeuner Deja Vu, 1994, bronze, edition 1/8, 62 x 132 x 360 inches, Grounds for Sculpture, Gift of The Seward Johnson Atelier.
Happening upon sculptures was almost like a treasure hunt. We seemed to discover them around corners, in ponds, atop hills, between hedges and in small clearings. This is in keeping with the founder's vision that guests should anticipate the "joy of discovery." This above tableau was located a bit off the beaten path and is called Dejeuner Deja Vu.  It is inspired by Edouard Manet's "Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe."
Grounds for sculpture pond
The Grounds for Sculpture is a peaceful place for a stroll.


Seward Johnson Sculpture
"Has Anyone Seen Larry," by Seward Johnson.

Once in awhile, visitors will discover that Seward Johnson doesn't always take himself so seriously, like with this piece, titled, "Has Anyone Seen Larry?" And then there's this one below, titled, "Pondering the Benefits of Exercise."

Seward Johnson
Seward Johnson, Pondering the Benefits of Exercise, 2004, bronze, edition 1/8, 55 x 216 x 96 inches, Grounds for Sculpture, Gift of the Seward Johnson Atelier.
DuChamps sculpture
William T. Wiley, To Marcel DuChamp, 1887-1968, Artist, Tool and Die Maker, 1968, stainless steel, 84 x 112 x 90 inches, Grounds for Sculpture, Gift of The Seward Johnson Atelier, Original Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sabol.

Seward Johnson sculpture
"Interaction," by Seward Johnson.\


Sculpture by the widow of Zbigniew Brezezinski
 Emilie Benes Brzezinski, Lintel, 1993, bronze, 128 x 117 x 28 inches, Grounds for Sculpture, Gift of The Seward Johnson Atelier.
Once in awhile, I'm surprised at what I learn later about a particular artist. For instance,"Lintel" was created by the widow of Zbigniew Brezezinski, who is also the mother of Mika Brzezinski. This sculpture was constructed of cut cherry trees and then cast in bronze.

Sculpture by Karen Peterson
Karen Peterson, Beast, 2001, bronze, Edition, 2/7, 87 x 102 x 41 inches, Courtesy of the Artist.
The unusal sculpture above is named "Beast," and is created by Michigan resident Karen Peterson."I have reached for pure form in depicting a setient creature that exudes power, sensuousness, nobility and sensitivity of spirit," she said about her work.

October Gathering sculpture
Joan Danziger, October Gathering, 2001, bronze, 48 x 36 x 36 inches, Grounds for Sculpture, Gift of the Seward Johnson Atelier.  
The above piece by Joan Danziger, is said to be created out of her fascination with dream imagery and metomorphosis. Danziger currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area.

Sculpture of a Head in mist
Philip Grausman, Leucantha, 1993, aluminum, edition 1/3, 108 x 118 x 118 inches, Grounds for Sculpture, Gift of The Seward Johnson Atelier.
While wandering around the grounds, mist would occasionally rise up and capture our attention, causing us to explore further what was located in, or around, various bodies of water. This one is called Leucantha by Philip Grausman. The American artist's early work centered on seeds and buds and this exploration eventually led to a fascination with human heads, which he has been known to describe as "landscapes." His work can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum and the Wadsworth Atheneum.

partial nude in mist
Seward Johnson, Part of Nature, 2000, aluminum, edition 1/8, 47 x 41 x 38 inches, Grounds for Sculpture, Gift of The Seward Johnson Atelier, Inc., Original Gift of Seward Johnson

Another sculpture which commands attention due to the gathering mist is titled, "Part of Nature," by Seward Johnson.

white Danby marble sculpture
Horace Farlowe, Portal Rest, 1999, white Danby marble, 12 x 15 x 20 feet, Grounds for Sculpture, Gift of The Seward Johnson Atelier.
I had to hold my camera way out from a copse of small trees to snap this white Danby marble creation titled, "Portal Rest," by Horace Farlowe, a North Carolina resident who was known for his architectural creations.

sculpture of a female
David Hostetler, Summertime Lady, 1999, bronze, edition A/P, 116 x 32 x 24 inches, Grounds for Sculpture, Gift of The Seward Johnson Atelier.
Artist David Hostetler is responsible for "Summertime Lady," which stands in the reflection pool near Rat's restaurant. Yes, the name is a bit odd and unsettling for a restaurant. Seward chose the appellation for a character named "Ratty," from Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, which is one of his favorite books.  Hostetler, who was born Amish in Beach City, Ohio, was known to create works honoring the female form. His career spanned more than 61 years before he passed in 2015.

Rat's Restaurant interior (courtesy of David Michael Howarth photography.)

Seward Johnson sculpture
Seward Johnson, Sailing the Seine II, 1999, bronze, edition 2/8, 60 x 72 x 55 inches, Grounds for Sculpture, Gift of The Seward Johnson Atelier.

Yet another piece with water as a backdrop is Seward's "Sailing the Seine," where Manet's couple is reimagined as a "Beyond the Frame," piece.

Seward Johnson sculpture
"Redon's Fantasy of Venus," by Seward Johnson.
Flanked by woods, another sculpture created by Johnson is hidden just beyond the beaten path to be discovered by the curious. It's titled, "Redon's Fantasy of Venus."

Sculpture of female carrying umbrella
Seward Johnson, On Poppied Hill, 1999, bronze, aluminum, edition 1/8, 99 x 84 x 60 inches, Grounds for Sculpture, Gift of The Seward Johnson Atelier.
Not all artwork is at eye level and guests should make it a point to be aware of their surroundings. This sculpture is located high upon a hill, among a collection of wildflowers.

Chamber by Seward Johnson
Scenes from the "Chamber of Internal Dialogue."

The Scream

T
Once again, Seward shows his sense of humor with "The Chamber of Internal Dialogue," which is a stand-alone structure featuring a room where guests can enter and perhaps lay down on the psychiatrists couch to contemplate their existence and hope they don't end up looking like the character in "The Scream."

Just a Few of the Many Sculptures to Be Seen

These few pictures may whet your appetite for a future visit. From what I understand, there are about 250 more, most of which are on the grounds. Others are at the visitors' center, like the incredible one seen below with the eyebrow-raising backstory.
Man with briefcase and papers
"Double Check," by Seward Johnson.
This life-sized bronze of a businessman rifling through his briefcase was installed in Liberty Plaza Park in Lower Manhattan. The sculpture became a fixture in the downtown landscape for 20 years. On September 11, 2001, a terrorist attack destroyed both towers of the World Trade Center, covering the sculpture in ash. The New York Times reported in 2004, that rescue workers approached the figure, only to realize that it was not a man, but a sculpture.

After seeing this many Seward Johnson sculptures, I realized I had encountered his work elsewhere during my travels, from the Lincoln statue in downtown Gettysburg, to the jogger at Nemocolin, the dancers in Key West and the man reading a newspaper in Steinman Park in Lancaster, Pa.
Dancing couple sculpture
This sculpture, titled, "Time for Fun" was located at the Art and Historical Society Custom House Museum in Key West when we visited.
Sculpture of lady in tracksuit
"Shaping Up," by Seward Johnson, was spotted last year at Nemocolin Woodlands Resort.
Planning Your Trip
If you go, be sure to at least allow three hours for viewing. If I do it again, I will visit when the temperatures are cooler and allot 90 minutes to stroll the grounds with a Rat's restaurant break at noon and an extra hour or two in the afternoon. Given our schedule this time, we merely scratched the surface of all there was to see in this unique gem of a destination.

To learn more about hours, prices and more, visit the Grounds for Sculpture website at: https://www.groundsforsculpture.org/