'Billy Yank' Statue
Location: Atop the Butler County Soldiers, Sailors & Pioneers Monument in downtown Hamilton.
Significance: Although the monument's interior contains military memorabilia and marble tablets engraved with the names of local pioneers and veterans who served from the American Revolution through the Spanish-American War, its crowning glory is the "Billy Yank" statue. Supported by a circle of 10 Corinthian columns, the lofty bronze
statue stands 17 feet tall and weighs 3,500 pounds. It depicts a young Union soldier at the end of the Civil War - one foot resting on an artillery shell, one arm grasping a gun and the other arm triumphantly waving a hat. Although the statue's official name is "Victory, the Jewel of the Soul," it is almost universally known as "Billy Yank," the nickname that personified the common Northern soldier during the Civil War.
Currently: Open to the public on Wednesday and Saturday, the monument is considered a local treasure, while "Billy Yank" has turned into a beloved symbol for Hamilton, a.k.a. the "City of Sculpture" because of its abundant statues, monuments and sculpted works of art.
It's a little-known fact that: Rudolph Thiem, the German-born sculptor who created "Billy Yank," modeled the face of the statue after his own.
"Billy Yank" at the Butler County Soldiers, Sailors & Pioneers Monument, One South Monument Ave., Hamilton, OH 45011. Open Wed., 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For additional information, telephone 513-867-5823 or visit the Web site www.butlercountyohio.org/monument.
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