Teddy Roosevelt’s head travels to North Dakota town

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The statue was originally erected in 1895 in Washington

The grandest of statues unveiled in the capital of the United States will head to a North Dakota town this week.

The statue of former US President Teddy Roosevelt’s head, representing the whole of the United States, was originally erected in Washington in 1895.

But in 1987, Washington swapped it for a more humble base in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Its new home at the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Bismarck is perhaps a more appropriate choice.

See map of move:

In a city with a deep-rooted Rooseveltist heritage – stretching back centuries – it was fitting to accommodate his statue in a place with even stronger ties to the political and geographical legacy of the former leader, writes John Starbuck.

“It’s great,” he said. “It’s a fitting place, but it feels to me like he doesn’t really fit in with what is more North Dakota’s own identity.”

The move was announced at a ceremony by former US president George W Bush, who recently visited the library to visit Mr Roosevelt’s remains.

As North Dakota celebrates its centenary, the former Republican president has emerged as a powerful symbol of the Democratic-leaning state’s identity.

More than a quarter of its residents were born in India and the state’s traditional industries – livestock, grain and oil – remind the world of the boom-bust cycle of the last century.

“Teddy Roosevelt has always been a symbol for North Dakota,” former Democratic governor Byron Dorgan said.

“It’s one thing to believe that you like him because he was a Republican, but it’s a lot harder to say ‘I’m a Democrat and I like Roosevelt’. He just fits us.”

See the statue:

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The statue moved from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, where it was based, to Bismarck

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A giant replica is placed near the Roosevelt Head on Wednesday

The museum plans to enhance Roosevelt’s place in the US consciousness by housing photos, artefacts and other artefacts that can be viewed by visitors.

“How do you commemorate Teddy Roosevelt in North Dakota? We are the quintessential western outpost,” curator Sean Graffy said.

“To leave him with something people can understand better is a good idea, because he deserves it.”

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