This is strictly for fun. I finally satisfied my curiosity about a local statue in my town. Since I found it interesting, of course, I am sharing what I learned.
Franklin is a college town with a population of about 20,000. It is a nice town and an exceptionally safe place to live. There is a curiosity on the college campus that I finally had to settle today. As I drove past the Administration building on my way home from errands, I noticed Ben. He is splashed with colors of all sorts in a rather modern art deco style. It’s that time of year.
The stately statue of Benjamin Franklin first occupied the Franklin Insurance Company building on Monument Circle, Indianapolis. He politely watched over the activities on the Circle from 1873 to 1929. The building was razed and Ben moved to the Van Camp mansion which housed the typographical union. After all, Ben had been a printer, remember?
He stayed there from 1929 to 1963 when he once again lost his home to the destruction of the building that housed him. That is when he fell into the hands of Franklin College. Now he graces the corner of Branigan Drive and Monroe Street in front of the Administration Building.
His sculptor, James Mahoney, would be shocked to see what the students do to Ben. Since I have lived here Ben has been adorned as Santa Claus, Superman, a Colts player, and sometimes worn a coat of bright pink to show honor to breast cancer awareness. It is a student body ritual. In a few days the students will leave for the summer and Ben will be his usual gray statue again.
There is no way to ruin Benjamin Franklin’s reputation, however. History speaks for itself. Patriot, inventor, scientist, printer and advocate of free press, and of course, Poor Richard’s almanac. All of the paint in the world cannot ruin Ben’s image in my heart. He was a good friend of the religious statesman of his time, George Whitefield. It was Whitefield’s wish that sometime Franklin would leave his Deist thinking and turn to Christ in faith. I hope so too.
My favorite of his Poor Richard sayings? “House guests are like fish; after three days they begin to stink.”