By WENDY RIGBY | firstname.lastname@example.org | Estes Park Trail-Gazette
PUBLISHED: October 1, 2021 at 1:15 p.m. | UPDATED: October 4, 2021 at 10:57 a.m.
On a chilly autumn afternoon, a large crowd gathered to participate in the dedication of the Estes Park Women’s Monument. The statues sit on a piece of land donated by the Town of Estes Park along the river walk. Twelve historical and current female leaders who have impacted the town’s rich heritage are honored in this newest public art installation.
“This was a widespread, grassroots effort,” said Ron Wilcocks, Chairman of the Estes Park Women’s Monument Committee. “Hundreds of people helped make it happen. The community came through in a big way.”
Speaking on behalf of the Estes Park Woman’s Club, Judy Schaffer commented, “These were not just ladies who sat around. They laid trails. They funded libraries. The supported the town as a community. They gave a legacy to the more contemporary women we are honoring.”
Members of the Town Board of Trustees were there, along with Mayor Wendy Koenig who is one of the 12 women honored in bronze sculpture.
“This is a momentous occasion,” Koenig noted. “This monument makes visible the women who nurtured this community.”
Town Administrator Travis Machalek called the monument “long overdue.”
The centerpiece figure of the picture is Eleanor Hondius, an early female leader in Estes Park. Her son, 97-year-old Pieter Hondius who still lives in Estes Park, was on hand to see his mother honored in this lasting way.
“These were strong-minded, determined and focused women,” she said. “We owe a debt to these pioneers for what Estes Park is today.”
Noting that creating public sculptures is a “team sport,” DeDecker thanked all of the donors who collectively contributed more than $100,000 for the project. She also thanked the town employees who helped prepare the site and will keep it beautiful year round.