Madonna Of The Trail

Madonna of the Trail monument is a very popular historical attraction in the city of Upland, CA. Located at 1010 Euclid Avenue, it is one of a dozen similar monuments installed in twelve different states that lie along the National Old Trails Road (US 40). All twelve monuments were designed by August Leimbach on behalf of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) as a way of celebrating the courage and strength of the pioneer women and their contributions in the establishment of new settlements in the wilderness. This commemorative sculpture shows a woman boldly moving forward with a baby in one hand, a rifle in the other and an older child tagging on her dress.

Word has it that the initial plan was to install mileage markers along the route but the plan was scrapped in favor of the installation of statues depicting the “pioneer mother.” The project was spearheaded by a committee led by Judge Harry S. Truman who would later become the president of the U.S.

Upland city was never in the original plan of designated locations of installation, with San Bernardino being the obvious choice for California’s statue. However, when the Truman led committee arrived in San Bernardino to discuss the specifics surrounding the installation of the monument, the city officials became reluctant to provide the funds needed to see the project through after the Truman delegation cited the city’s proposed installation locations as unfavorable.

After the fallout between Truman’s team and San Bernardino city, several cities came forth with very tempting offers, but it was Upland’s proposed location at the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Euclid Avenue that caught the eyes of the DAR team. This combined with the enthusiasm the people of the city showed towards embracing the monument and everything it represented helped Upland beat the likes of Cucamonga, El Monte, and Pomona cities which were also viable locations. The Upland Rotary Club was very instrumental in helping raise the $1,500 needed to fund the project.

The monument was installed and dedicated in early 1929 and has since become one of the most visited historical points of interest in California. The monument is seen as a representation of the city’s transition from a prominent agricultural community into the beautiful suburban city it is today. Just like the brave “pioneer mother” the monument is built to represent, California’s Madonna of the Trail has weathered some very difficult times in terms of earthquakes and extreme wind without wavering, with the exception of a few touch-ups every now and then.

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