As winter break comes to a close, this post concludes the Campus in the Snow then and now series. Happy Spring Semester, Vandals!
Erected in 1901 to honor two UI students who had died while serving in the Spanish-American War, the statue is believed to be the earliest example of a “hiker” statue, or one dedicated to the common soldier from the Spanish-American War. Out of the 39 university students who had volunteered, Paul Draper and Ole Gabriel Hagberg did not make it back. UI President Joseph Blanton led fundraising efforts for the statue and made it a personal achievement to be built during his short tenure of only two years at UI.
The statue is the oldest landmark on the UI campus and has seen its share of mishaps. A plaque dedicated to Draper and Hagberg, rumored to originally be on the base, had been destroyed in the 1906 Administration Building fire. The inscriptions to Hagberg and Draper on the base were lost somewhere along the way, possibly at the same time the statue itself was damaged as the result of a Vietnam War protest in the 1970s. That destruction cost the statue its hands, weapon, and part of its hat.
The statue was restored in 1985 by local sculptor Bud Washburn, although the inscriptions were never replaced on the base. A replica of the plaque as well as two other plaques showing the original inscriptions to Draper and Hagberg now hang in Memorial Gym.
PG 1-99-4, 1924; today photo by UI Library Special Collections staff; Restoration Dedication Brochure; Idaho The University, Summer 1986; Beacon for Mountain and Plain