Kent, Ohio, residents got their first look at a new permanent addition to the city's history this weekend when Kent sculptor George Danhires unveiled a large bronze sculpture.
The sculpture, commissioned by the city's Bicentennial Committee in 2007, includes The Davey Tree Expert Company founder John Davey and his son Martin L. Davey, who won the governor's race in 1934 after serving as a congressman and mayor of Kent.
Read the story below or see it and the accompanying video in The Record Courier.
Video: Celebrating Kent history; Bicentennial sculpture unveiled, ride over stone arch bridge recreated
By Kyle McDonald, staff writer, The Record Courier
Kent celebrated two chapters of its history, both new and old, downtown Sunday.
The ceremonies led with the unveiling of Kent’s bicentennial sculpture, by local artist George Danhires, at its permanent home on Franklin Avenue, between the gazebo and The Pufferbelly Ltd.
The 4-foot tall, 6-foot wide bronze sculpture is designed to be a narrative of Kent through its history, from the native settlers to students and technology. Impressions of Kent historical figures such as Kent namesake Marvin Kent, abolitionist John Brown, former Ohio Gov. Martin Davey, Davey Tree Expert Co. founder John Davey make up the piece. It also contains figures representing native Americans, students and railroad workers.
“If you don’t know where you came from, you don’t know where you’re going, and I think today is going to show that,” said Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala during the sculpture ceremony.
The four students killed at Kent State University on May 4, 1970 are also in the sculpture, making it the first permanent acknowledgment of the incident in Kent that is not found on campus.
Following the dedication of the bicentennial sculpture came a celebration of the 134th anniversary of the opening of Kent’s Stone Arch Bridge, which opened in 1877 and leads into downtown Kent from the west.
Following a performance by Theodore Roosevelt High School’s A.C.E.s choral ensemble, speakers including retired TRHS history teacher Bruce Dzeda, Phoenix Properties, LLC President Ron Burbick, architect David Sommers, Wick Poetry Center Director David Hassler and others gave speeches resembling those given 134 years ago by Marvin Kent, former mayor Charles Kent, Bridge Contractor T.B. Townsend and more.
The event concluded with a bridge crossing on horse and buggy by Harold and Harry Ruggles, descendants of Oscar Champney, the first person to cross Kent’s historic Stone Arch Bridge.
“It really is an event that bridges our 200-year history,” said Sandra Halem, president of the Kent Historical Society. “One hundred people were here in the beginning, 100 people are here today, and the sun is shining.”
Danhires said it felt great seeing his sculpture permanently installed with a good turnout of onlookers. “It’s nice to know that people are concerned about the community and turned out for the ceremonies.”