Iditarod Trail statue ready for unveiling
Annette Shacklett | The Seward Phoenix LOG
The new monument commemorating the Iditarod National Historic Trail Centennial is set to be unveiled May 3.
A bronze monument of an old-time miner and his dog will be unveiled in Seward next week. The Seward Iditarod Trail Blazers project is the culmination of the Iditarod National Historic Trail Centennial.
The ceremony begins at noon on May 3rd in the parking lot to the east of Alaska SeaLife Center. Included in the event will be a flag ceremony and pledge of allegiance, and Seward Elementary students led by Kyle Schneider will sing the Alaska Flag Song and the Iditarod Song. Dan Seavey of the Trail Blazers will make opening remarks and introduce guests, as well as give the keynote speech. After which the statue will be unveiled and presented to the City of Seward.
Before the ceremony at 10 a.m ., Mrs. Barnwell and 125 Seward Elementary will begin a walk from the school to the Pavilion.
Also, from 10-11:30 a.m. Seward Senior Center will host a special brunch and provide transportation for seniors to the ceremony. The brunch is $5 for seniors and $9 for non seniors.
The 1,200-pound statue came together from the work of local organizations and others from around the state. With a grant from the state Historic Preservation Commission and other sources, in October 2010 the Seward Iditarod Trail Blazers commissioned artist Pat Garley to create the statue in bronze. Seavey described the monument to The LOG as, “Stunningly beautiful!” and went on to say that he thinks most people will agree once they see it.
Initially the monument was going to be installed near the Pavilion, but Alaska SeaLife Center stepped forward and offered the current location which is much closer to where the dock was that saw landings of many of the original trail blazing miners and settlers in the early 1900s, and the beginning of the Iditarod National Historic Trail.
Installing the statue and the rock upon which it sits was the coordinated work, all donated, of several businesses, organizations and volunteers. Afognak Construction donated the 33,000-pound rock on which the monument sits. Getting the rock and statue into place was the effort of Seward Public Works Department with their flatbed truck and Seward Ship’s Drydock. Seward Ship’s donated the use of their crane for the project and made arrangements for a special permit to drive the crane from the 4th of July Creek area to town for the installation.
Another aspect of the project are the limited edition replicas of the statue. Only 25 of the 18-inch bronze pieces will be cast. Each of the $3,000 replicas are mounted on wood and will be signed by the artist. Proceeds from the replicas will benefit the Seward Iditarod Trail Blazers which continues to maintain the southern end of the trail, and promote awareness of the trail and its history.
For information about or participate in the Seward Iditarod Trail Blazers contact Dan Seavey at 224-3518 or Linda Sewell at 224-3581.