LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A statue of renowned Nebraska novelist Willa Cather is slated to replace a statue of the politician and Arbor Day founder J. Sterling Morton at the U.S. Capitol.
The 9-foot, 5,500-pound Morton statue will get a new home in Nebraska City as early as this fall after sitting on display in the nation’s capital for more than 80 years, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.
Two years ago, state senators voted to replace Morton and William Jennings Bryan as Nebraska’s longtime representatives at the Capitol’s National Statutory Hall. Cather and Ponca Indian Chief Standing Bear were selected to fill those spots.
Morton, an Illinois native, moved to Nebraska City in 1854 and became a farmer, editor and member of the territorial legislature. He served as territorial secretary and, later, secretary of agriculture for President Grover Cleveland.
He became a household name in Nebraska for launching Arbor Day in 1872. Nebraskans planted an estimated 1 million trees that first year.
The Cather statue should be done this summer. It could be next year before her statue replaces Morton’s.