- The Washington Times - Monday, June 28, 2004

WASHBURN, N.D. (AP) — Statues of Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and Mandan Chief Sheheke are waiting to greet visitors celebrating their historic meeting.

The 12-foot steel statues were dedicated yesterday as part of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center’s bicentennial celebration of the journey Meriwether Lewis and William Clark made to the Pacific Northwest.

Chief Sheheke welcomed Lewis and Clark as they traveled through what is now North Dakota and assured their survival through the 1804-05 winter by offering peace, advice and food.

“It’s the crowning touch,” David Borlaug, president of the Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation, said of the statues.

Along with the metallic men, a herd of 4-foot-tall steel buffaloes will line the path of the center’s park, marked with the names of those who donated $300 or more to the center.

The statues, buffaloes and renovations to the park all came to about $500,000, gathered from private donations, Mr. Borlaug said.

Tom Neary, a Washburn artist, built the statues and designed the buffaloes.

The statues of Lewis and Clark, who were in the first part of their journey, are wearing military field uniforms authentic to the time. Many artists have depicted them in tricorned hats or coonskin caps.

“It’s Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. And it’s wrong,” Mr. Borlaug said. “Now, bang, as soon as [visitors] get out of their car, they’ll see something different.”

Mr. Neary said he consulted other artists’ research on how the men would have dressed, and got his image of Sheheke from a portrait done in Washington when the chief visited.

Visitors to the center saw the statues getting settled into their new home last week. Judi and Chris Collins, riding from Milwaukee to a motorcycle rally in South Dakota, took pictures. They said they have been interested in Lewis and Clark’s journey and wanted to see what the Interpretive Center had to offer.

“There’s a raft of pioneer museums around,” Chris Collins said. “This one seemed to have the most stuff.”

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