A topic Ron Bailey has discussed on these pages before and one he brought up again in a recent conversation was, if one were to create a Maysville Mount Rushmore, whose heads would be chiseled on the stone edifice?
Over the course of the conversation, dozens of names came to mind. So many, that Maysville’s monument might have a population as large as the city it represents. Face it: there have been so many people over Maysville’s lifetime who have been a positive influence, it would be next to impossible to choose only four.
That is when I pointed out the flaw in the exercise: Mount Rushmore features Presidents and Presidents only. A small pool from which to choose. To make a truly Maysville Mount Rushmore, it would have to cover areas such as Education, Sports, the Arts, Medicine, Politics, and Humanitarianism. That would narrow the job to creating a list of twenty-four – still a large sculpture, but a little more manageable.
Next, who comprises the nominating committee? One problem in choosing this group would be age bias, by which I mean the memory span of those creating the list. I, for example, would skew toward people who I’ve seen affect our area during my lifetime. That leaves over a century of Maysville’s citizens unrepresented; people whom I am more than confident deserve a place on the mountainside.
I never met John May, though I know the town was named after him. Daniel Boone had a tavern here at one time. Does that make him chisel worthy? Simon Kenton, Henry Clay and other historic figures have passed our way. Do they automatically go to the top?
For what it is worth, I am going to give it a try. My list is hardly complete, and I’m sure you will have suggestions of your own. I’m just as sure to have forgotten some people, for which I apologize in advance. Let’s take it section by section:
The Arts would be represented by people such as Runyon, Booher, Browning, Faris, Thomas, Parker, Keller, Chamness, and Clooney. Sports names would include Feldhaus, Jones, Wells, Miller, Lofton and Lyons. Calvert, Straub, Fee, Fields and Felice are names I’d submit for education. In industry? Finch, Browning, Barbour, and Carlson readily come to mind. For politics, Cartmell, Gallenstein, McKay, Denham and Reed should definitely be in contention. Humanitarians? Whew, boy! Do we have a lot. Srinivasan, Greenwell, Chambers, Hamilton, Bennett, Burns, Carpenter, Gore - the list literally could go on and on.
My compilation is woefully incomplete, as I have already thought of a dozen more people who need to be on the short list. Which, upon reflection, isn’t very short.
And that’s a good thing, isn’t it? We live in a community that boasts a history of citizens such as these. We’ve had so many people who have had a positive influence on us over the years. While we might not be able to erect a monument to them all, we can at least keep them in our minds. And hearts.