Will Elizabeth Taber return to Marion?
Elizabeth Taber, the "Mother of Marion" gazes out from portraits around Marion. In the future, she may also survey the town she helped to form in the guise of a life-size statue.
"We're hoping to bring Elizabeth Taber back to Marion," said Tinker Saltonstall, who presented the idea alongside Sippican Historical Society members Frank McNamee and Judy Rosbe, as well as former Selectman Al Winters. "We need a statue," Saltonstall continued. "She was a remarkable woman."
The group is planning to commission a life-size statue in bronze; members are in the process of interviewing six sculptors, five of whom are local, to create the statue.
Selectmen Jody Dickerson and Norm Hills had no qualms about the project, adding that they thought it was a nice idea for the town.
The process of creating the statue would take about nine months to a year, Winters said. He added that he wanted to make it very clear that the group would not be asking the town for money.
"This has to come from the people," he said. "She worked for the people, and the people should work to put this statue up. Frankly, I don't think we'll have a problem raising the money."
Costs, McNamee said, aren't final yet, but he estimated that creating the statue could run between $30-50,000.
The precise location of the statue is still up in the air as well. The group came up with two final solutions, one involving buildings built by Taber herself. One, Saltonstall said, was the area between Marion's Town House and the Taber Library. The other would be on the ground's of the town's Bicentennial Park, across the street from the Town House.
Rosbe said there was another option, which was possibly placing the statue inside the entryway of the library, which is being renovated thanks to donations given by the Repass family. "We think that might be nice, to have her in the building named for her," she said, "but we also don't want to intrude on the very generous gift being given by the Repasses."
Wherever it ends up residing, Taber's statue is set to be finished in the summer of 2020—a nice touch, Saltonstall said. The statue's completion will also mark Taber's inclusion in "Lighting the Way," a New Bedford Whaling Museum exhibit which will bring the stories of influential South Coast women to life.
The exhibit, and the completion of the statue, will also mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution—the amendment that gave women the right to vote.