Portion of Holden Judson, Lynden’s first mayor, still to be completed; event March 11
LYNDEN — A life-size sculpture of “Mother of Lynden” Phoebe Judson will be unveiled and dedicated at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at the corner of Sixth and Front streets.
The site of the statue placement, Phoebe seated on a bench, will be near the Lynden Chamber of Commerce office and a few feet from the towering black walnut tree that she had planted in 1882.
It represents a big step of progress in achieving the long-sought statue, although a companion one of “Father of Lynden” Holden Judson is not completed yet.
Chuck Robinson, who renewed private fundraising for the statue project a year ago, announced the unveiling Monday. Robinson, recently retired from active involvement in his Village Books store, also is a board member of the Whatcom Community Foundation, the fiscal sponsor of the project.
“I realized there was a need to raise more money to get this going again, so I began doing that,” he wrote in an email.
The sculptor, who turns 85 this year, is Robert McDermott, also the creator of the “Dirty Dan” Harris and J.J. Donovan statues in Fairhaven and the three-figure bronze “Vigil” on the Blaine waterfront.
At the dedication, brief remarks will be made by Mayor Scott Korthuis; Mary Michaelson, who began the project to commemorate Lynden’s founders nearly ten years ago; Mauri Ingram, president and CEO of the foundation; and McDermott, the renowned sculptor.
Phoebe, with Holden and their children, arrived in 1871 on the uplands of the Nooksack River, just a short distance south of where her image will now be permanently installed. After their first log cabin, the Judson family built a house that stood in the middle of the north 500 block of Front Street, about where a parking lot now is.
“Phoebe was a remarkable woman who named Lynden, as a midwife helped birth an entire generation, established a school in her home, and was instrumental in founding Northwest Normal School, the forerunner of Western Washington University,” Robinson states.
“Her husband Holden, whose statue will join Phoebe’s in the future, was a state legislator, Lynden’s first postmaster and its first mayor.”
Michaelson launched the project with McDermott some years ago, but due to some health issues it lay fallow for a time. The sculpting of the heads was completed and they were housed at the Lynden Pioneer Museum, but the bodies were not started nor was there funding for them to be done. That’s when Chuck got involved as he and his wife Dee were moving to Lynden in 2016.
The plan has always been to have Holden standing behind Phoebe on the bench, Robinson said. Still a significant amount of money needs to be raised for that to happen, however — a project on which he, with the help of others, will continue to work, he said.
The bench for the site is to be secured a couple of days before the unveiling — a concrete pad was poured recently.
Those who have given to the effort so far will be listed on the program for March 11, while the results of donations — bricks, stones and plaques — will be placed later.
Woods Coffee will provide coffee and hot chocolate for those attending the dedication, and Vanessa and James Rose will appear as living versions of the sculptures.