Dear Friends of Polly Bemis,
We would like to invite you to be part of an incredible project: a life size bronze statue of Polly Bemis to commemorate a unique Chinese immigrant woman in Idaho history. Over the last few months we have been laying the groundwork and designing a sculpture that will recognize the image and strength that Polly represents. During the 100th Anniversary in 2020 of the Women’s suffrage movement (Polly was to be recognized as one of Idaho’s most memorable and beloved women pioneers) the idea for a Polly Bemis statue was conceived. Polly’s story and spunk captures the strength, resilience and good nature of the Idaho spirit. Her diminutive stature cast a larger-than-life shadow of what helped to build the great State of Idaho and deserves to be memorialized for future generations. Polly’s cabin located on the Salmon River was listed on the National Historic Register in 1988 and it behooves us to show the honor and respect this site merits. A bronze memorial reflects our commitment as stewards of her legacy, to preserve the history of Polly and the land on which she lived, cared for, worked, and loved. This statue will forever remind those who visit her cabin that they are standing in a very special and treasured place.
The sculpture is life-size 4’9” cast bronze statue of Polly Bemis in welcoming pose with her fishing pole and an apron pocket full of trout. Details to the figure will include her traditional clothing with such things as safety-pinned apron bib, 19th c. frontier style apparel and leather high-top lace-up boots. Great effort will be employed to capture Polly’s likeness as well as familiar details to her garments from research of photographs and artifacts. Engraved stones selected from the riverbank will be incorporated into the statue’s base with an informational bronze plaque.
The initial unveiling of the sculpture will occur on the steps of the Capital building on August 10, 2021. This date marks the 125th anniversary of Polly’s Certificate of Residence. An official Idaho State Polly Bemis Proclamation by Governor Little will be read. Senator Risch will also be present to read his congressional record commemorating Polly. There will be other notable speakers for the occasion including author Dr. Priscilla Wegars and Dr. Yong Gao of the Idaho Chinese Organization. The statue will be moved to the mining claim site of the Polly Bemis cabin on the Salmon River where it will be permanently installed. (See attached example on next page.)
Professional metal artist Irene Deely volunteered her time and sculpting expertise and, in concert with 3D Form in Portland, Oregon and Park’s Bronze Foundry in Enterprise, Oregon, will complete the research, design, and fabrication of the sculpture. Members from the Polly Bemis Ranch and crew will assist in construction of the river rock base as well as assist in the transportation and installation of this beautiful historic monument.
We are offering the opportunity for you to become part of this historic project by making a financial gift. Our goal is to raise $34,000 to cover the basic costs. We have a pledge page that shows recognition levels for contributions to this project.