Prior to being installed in downtown Juneau, the Seward Statue goes through a “trial run” to see if it fits on its marble base. Early next week, the statue will be installed on the base at Dimond Courthouse Plaza across the street from the Juneau State Capitol before a public unveiling July 3. (Photo courtesy of Wayne Jensen)

Prior to being installed in downtown Juneau, the Seward Statue goes through a “trial run” to see if it fits on its marble base. Early next week, the statue will be installed on the base at Dimond Courthouse Plaza across the street from the Juneau State Capitol before a public unveiling July 3. (Photo courtesy of Wayne Jensen)

Seward Statue fully funded, days away from installation

After a journey that took three years, 4,500 miles and $250,000, the statue of Secretary William Henry Seward is just days away from being installed in downtown Juneau.

The statue commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Cession that made Alaska a U.S. territory, and arrived in Juneau a few weeks ago. Prior to that, the statue traveled from Seward’s longtime home in New York, through Nebraska and up to Juneau.

Wayne Jensen, the co-chair of the Seward Statue Committee, said that early next week, the statue will be put in place at the Dimond Courthouse Plaza in front of the Alaska State Capitol. The public ceremony for the unveiling will take place at 3 p.m. July 3.

On Thursday morning, the contractors who are working with the statue took it through a “trial run,” as Jensen called it. They lowered the statue onto its marble base, and after years of working to make this statue a reality, Jensen was more than a little nervous.

“We wanted to make sure before we put it down in the courthouse plaza that it was gonna fit,” Jensen said. “They were very careful lowering it down. Fortunately, I wasn’t there. I got there just after it was set, otherwise it would have probably been a little nerve-wracking.”

[Preserving a scar: Seward statue debate exposes differing views on history]

While speaking at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday, Jensen also said the statue is now fully funded. The project ended up costing $250,000, Jensen said, with about three-quarters of it coming from donations and grants. The other quarter has come in the form of in-kind donations, with people donating their time or services or donating items to auction off to raise money for the project.

Co-Chair of the Seward Statue Committee Mary Becker said the largest donation came from the Alaska Historical Commission (part of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources), in the form of two grants totaling about $28,000. Those grants were set aside specifically for projects relating to the sesquicentennial (the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Cession), Jensen said.

The second-largest donation came from the City and Borough of Juneau, which donated $25,000 to the project in 2015. The money came from the Parks and Recreation Department’s budget.

The final major donation that recently came through was a $25,000 grant from the Rasmuson Foundation. While there were these larger, corporate donations and grants, there were also numerous private donations from citizens in town who wanted to see the statue go up. Becker said she was a bit nervous at first that they would be able to raise enough money, she quickly saw that the statue was popular enough to get people to open up their wallets.

There’s still one more chance for people to give money to the project, as the committee is selling paintings from artist David Rubin (who designed the statue along with his sister Judith). The paintings depict Seward and the statue, and Becker hopes that people will buy the paintings and then donate them to the Juneau-Douglas City Museum.

The City Museum has helped out with creating a plaque to accompany the statue that explains Seward’s significance to Alaska’s history. Jensen has learned quite a bit about Seward’s role in the treaty and the formation of the state, even including his influence on the state’s name.

“You can kind of see how important he is to us who now call ourselves Alaskans,” Jensen said. “It probably wouldn’t have even been called Alaska. Hopefully it wouldn’t have still been Russian America, but it might have been something else.”

Know &Go

What: The unveiling ceremony for the William Henry Seward Statue

Where: Dimond Courthouse Plaza

When: 3 p.m. July 3


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at alex.mccarthy@juneauempire.com.


Workers install the marble base for the Seward Statue at Dimond Courthouse Plaza in downtown Juneau. Early next week, the statue will be installed on the base before a public unveiling July 3. (Photo courtesy of Wayne Jensen)

Workers install the marble base for the Seward Statue at Dimond Courthouse Plaza in downtown Juneau. Early next week, the statue will be installed on the base before a public unveiling July 3. (Photo courtesy of Wayne Jensen)

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of May 18

Here’s what to expect this week.

A photo taken from the terminal roof shows the extent of the first phase of paving to accommodate large aircraft. (Mike Greene / City and Borough of Juneau)
Large-scale repaving project plants itself at Juneau International Airport

Work may take two to three years, schedule seeks to limit impact on operations.

Capital Transit buses wait to depart from the downtown transit center on Thursday. Route number 8 was adjusted this spring. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
More service, visitor information helping Capital Transit to keep up with extra cruise passenger traffic

Remedies made after residents unable to board full buses last year seem to be working, officials say

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, May 23, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, May 22, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Campaign buttons urging Alaskans to repeal ranked choice voting in Alaska sit on a picnic table at the home of Phil Izon, a backer of the initiative, in Wasilla, Alaska, on Tuesday, May 14. Arguments are scheduled May 28 in a lawsuit challenging the state Division of Election’s decision to certify the initiative for placement on the ballot this year. (Mark Thiessen / AP)
Ranked-choice voting has challenged the status quo. Its popularity will be tested in November

Arguments scheduled Tuesday in Alaska lawsuit involving ballot initiative repealing RCV.

A sperm whale is seen in an undated photo published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (NOAA photo)
Alaska fisherman pleads guilty to federal charges after ordering crew to shoot whale

A Southeast Alaska troll fisherman has agreed to plead guilty to a… Continue reading

Juneau high school seniors Edward Hu of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé (left), Elizabeth Djajalie of Thunder Mountain High School (center) and Kenyon Jordan of Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi Alternative High School. (Photos of Hu and Jordan by Juneau Empire staff, photo of Djajalie by Victor Djajalie)
Senior Spotlight 2024: Three top students take very different paths to graduation stage

Ceremonies for Juneau’s three high schools take place Sunday.

The entrance road to Bartlett Regional Hospital. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)
Bartlett Regional Hospital looking at eliminating or trimming six ‘non-core’ programs to stabilize finances

Rainforest Recovery Center, autism therapy, crisis stabilization, hospice among programs targeted.

Most Read