Madonna of the Trail
The Madonna of the Trail statues evolved over a period of some nineteen years. The project was begun in 1909 with the idea of marking the Santa Fe Trail in Missouri. In 1911, the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) entered the picture, and in 1912 the National Old Trails Road Association came into being. During World War I work was halted, resuming again in 1922.
In 1927, the Daughters of the American Revolution Continental Congress accepted a design by August Leimbach, offered by Mrs. John Trigg Moss, chairwoman of the National Old Trails Committee of the DAR. In 1927, the National Old Trails Association and the NSDAR assigned a special duty to Fort William Bent Chapter NSDAR: guardianship over a large statue erected in Lamar’s Santa Fe Park. The last surviving charter member, Fay Huddleston Butler, who died March 22, 1970, was instrumental in the placing of the “Madonna of the Trail” in Lamar.
The Madonna of the Trail Statue was dedicated September 24, 1928. It was the fifth of twelve statues placed on the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway by NSDAR and the National Old Trails Road Association. The Madonna of the Trail is one of the twelve original copies of the statue placed in each of the twelve states along the Ocean-to-Ocean Old Trails Highway from Washington, D.C., to California. Under the leadership of Colorado State Regent Anita Bishop (2001-2003) the Madonna of the Trail statue was restored and rededicated in September 2003 in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary. The chapter members have faithfully fulfilled this trust.
Additional information about the Madonna of the Trail in Colorado can be found on the National DAR Historic Sites and Properties database.
Santa Fe Trail Marker #7
Santa Fe Trail Marker #7, counting from the Kansas/Colorado state line was located about 1/4 mile north of Lamar after crossing the Arkansas River Bridge. It sat on U.S. Highway 287 and U.S. Highway 50 and unfortunately became damaged and sat in an unsafe place for people to view. The area around the marker had many old trucks sitting around it.
The Fort William Bent Chapter NSDAR applied for, and was awarded, a DAR Special Projects Grant to repair and relocate the marker. The marker was moved about 1/4 mile to the north and now sits at the Big Timbers Museum grounds. Here it can be safely viewed as visitors walk around the grounds without fear of fast traveling trucks and vehicles. There are picnic shelters and tables nearby for travelers to sit and reflect or enjoy their lunch.