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Boreman statue dedication highlights West Virginia Day festivities in Wheeling

State’s birthplace now features a monument to its first governor

By Joselyn King, The Intelligencer

WHEELING, W.Va. — West Virginia Day saw a statue of the state’s first governor, Arthur I. Boreman, unveiled outside West Virginia Independence Hall, and current Gov. Jim Justice — known as a larger-than-life character, himself — couldn’t help but make an observation.

“This is the neat part for me,” Justice told those gathered in the yard. “It’s 8 feet tall, and it weighs 2,000 lbs. It’s bigger than me. That is going to be a governor bigger than me.”

Fundraising and planning for the project had been going on for the past three years. The cost of the statue, designed by Morgantown sculptor Jamie Lester, was $178,000. Boswell Monuments designed the base for another $32,000.

It depicts the moments prior to Boreman’s inauguration as the state’ first governor, Lester said.

The statue’s unveiling event had been set for 4 p.m. Thursday, but Justice arrived at about 4:45 p.m.

The event attracted a large crowd, and those attending sought ways to keep cool from the oppressive sun coupled with 90 degree heat. They stayed in the shade near the building or went to drink the water or lemonade that was available. 

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