The Story Behind the Madonna on the Trail Statue in Downtown Bethesda

The Story Behind the Madonna on the Trail Statue in Downtown Bethesda

The Madonna on the Trail statues were dedicated to the spirit of the pioneer woman of the United States during the 19th Century. Dwarfed by high rises in Bethesda, the statue stands 18 feet tall and is located at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Montgomery Avenue.

The statues were placed by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.The statue in Bethesda is the only Madonna on the Trail Statue that faces east, as all the others face west, towards the American frontier.

Harry S Truman was present and spoke at the unveiling of the statue in Bethesda, in which over 5,000 people attended. The 33rd President was then a Missouri Justice of the Peace, and he helped decide the location for the statues.

The Madonna on the Trail in Bethesda is part of twelve total statues dedicated across the country from 1928 to 1929. The locations are along the National Old Trails Road, now US 40.  Below are all of the locations across the country.

Bethesda, Maryland
Beallsville, Pennsylvania
Wheeling, West Virginia
Springfield, Ohio
Richmond, Indiana
Vandalia, Illinois
Lexington, Missouri
Council Grove, Kansas
Lamar, Colorado
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Springerville, Arizona
Upland, California

By Tom Merritt

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