The Hiker Monument – Portsmouth, Virginia - Atlas Obscura

The Hiker Monument

Honoring combatants from Portsmouth who served in Cuba and the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. 


Dedicated on May 23, 1942, the Hiker Monument on the median honors the Portsmouth veterans who served in the Spanish American War, the Philippine Insurrection, and the China Relief Expedition.

Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson was the sculptor who created the Hiker Monument. After being turned down for being too young to enroll at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, at the age of 15, Kitson became the youngest woman and first American woman to win Honorable Mention at the Salon des Artistes Francais. She was the first woman ever admitted to the National Sculpture Society.

The model for the sculpture was a veteran named Leonard Sefing, Jr. who was selected after his photo was entered in a national contest.

The statue in Portsmouth is one of about 50 copies that were cast and erected at various places around the U.S. to honor veterans of the Spanish American War. The original stands in front of the University of Minnesota Armory in Minneapolis.

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