Madonna of the Trail Statues
The Madonna of the Trail Statues are a series of 12 identical monuments commissioned by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), and installed in each of the 12 states through which the National Old Trails Road passes.
Designed by sculptor August Leimbach of St. Louis, and dedicated to the spirit of pioneer women in the United States, our local Madonna in Bethesda, Maryland was dedicated on April 19, 1929, nine and one-half months after the Springfield, Ohio dedication of the first statue. Former Postmaster General Harry S. New accepted the monument for the people of Bethesda. Maryland's state regent accepted guardianship of the statue and the ground on which she resides on behalf of the Colonel Tench Tilghman Chapter, NSDAR, of Bethesda, Maryland. The plot was donated by Mr. Walter R. Tuckerman, the first President of the Chamber of Commerce, and his wife Edith. If this land should cease to be used for the site of a patriotic memorial to the Pioneer Mothers of the Covered Wagon Days, it is to revert to the granters, Walter R. and Edith Tuckerman.
Located beside the Bethesda Post Office, our Madonna commemorates the spot where the pioneers spent the first night out of Georgetown on their way to the west. The statue faces east, with the post office on the north.
The inscription on the south:
OVER THIS HIGHWAY
MARCHED THE ARMY OF
ON ITS WAY TO FORT DUQUESNE.
The inscription on the north:
THIS, THE FIRST MILITARY ROAD
BEGINNING AT ROCK CREEK
AND POTOMAC RIVER,
LEADING OUR PIONEERS
ACROSS THIS CONTINENT
TO THE PACIFIC.
Locations and Dedication Dates:
Springfield, Ohio - July 4, 1928
Wheeling, West Virginia - July 7, 1928
Council Grove, Kansas - September 7, 1928
Lexington, Missouri - September 17, 1928
Lamar, Colorado - September 24, 1928
Albuquerque, New Mexico - September 27, 1928
Springerville, Arizona - September 29, 1928
Vandalia, Illinois - October 26, 1928
Richmond, Indiana - October 28, 1928
Washington County, Pennsylvania - December 8, 1928
Upland, California - February 1, 1929
Bethesda, Maryland - the week of April 19, 1929