A statue of Rutherford B. Hayes, who was born in Delaware and served as the country’s 19th president, took a tour of Delaware Wednesday before being installed in downtown.
One of the stops for the statue was Rutherford B. Hayes High School, the only school in the country named for Hayes.
Students gathered outside the high school to cheer for the statue as it passed by, and several students said Wednesday they were glad the statue was sculpted for the city.
“It’s a really good thing for Delaware,” said Gianni Cordi, a senior. “There’s not a lot of places where presidents were born. A lot of people who come to Delaware don’t know that a president was born here. With this being on the corner, that’s one of the first things that will greet them downtown. It just kind of puts a nice little spin on things. Delaware is a significant place now, I hope.”
Fellow senior Brandon Schrader agreed, adding he is glad the city has more than a plaque to honor Hayes.
“It’s a tourist attraction for Delaware,” he said. “It’s not just a gas station to celebrate the president, it’s actually something to acknowledge him and make him seem important.”
Dora Schar, a senior, along with Schrader and Cordi, were recording and photographing the event for the school. Schar said she enjoyed the assignment and seeing the statue.
“I think it’s really cool,” she said. “It was a fun project.”
Schar added that she’s excited to see the revamped corner of Sandusky and William streets along with the new fountain.
Schrader’s sentiments were echoed by Brent Carson, president emeritus of the Delaware County Historical Society and a member of the committee that raised funds for the statue.
“It’s heartening to know everyone came together to recognize (Hayes) in a much more appropriate way than in the past,” Carson said. “It couldn’t be more appropriate to have the student body here.”
The event at Hayes was attended by City of Delaware firefighters, who raised an American flag over the school to honor Hayes, as well as school administrators like Superintendent Heidi Kegley.
“This is such a wonderful and unique opportunity for our students,” Kegley said. “This will be one of those experiences that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
The statue was paid for and commissioned by the Rutherford B. Hayes Comes Home committee and will be unveiled at 6:30 p.m. Friday in downtown Delaware.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.