Statue of Liberty replica sits in Telfair County

Statue of Liberty replica in McRae-Helena

We typically think of July as chock full of the red, white, and blue, with the Fourth commemorating the nation's birthday, but one town shows off patriotic pride 365 days out of the year.

In fact, they've put themselves on the map because of one statue that sits in the county.

McRae-Helena is your typical small town in America -- it has murals on the buildings, a water tower, and then there's a giant teal statue that sits in the middle of town.

Liz McLean is the city manager and explained the oddity to us.

"A lot of people do come to take their picture with the Statue of Liberty," she exclaimed.

The replica, which is about 1/12 of the 300-foot original that sits in New York Harbor, perches at the corner of Oak and Third.  

"I grew up here and it's been here my entire life. It was built in 1986 as a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the original Statue of Liberty, and I was born five years later, so I've never not known it to be here as part of the town," McLean said with a smile.

The one in the Big Apple is about a thousand miles away and it was a gift from the French.

Telfair's humble lady came from the local Lions Club, which didn't have a big budget.

"The original head was made out of a tree stump that they got from a local swamp," McLean said. "The hand is made from an electrical man's glove, and I think they used a lot of recycled metals to make it, also, and some styrofoam."

That kind of stuff will break down, but the landmark got so popular they shored her up with stronger materials that will stand the test of time.

The mayor, Mike Young, is pretty happy with the whole situation.

"It's pretty cool to talk about the statue because when you mention McRae-Helena, some folks are like, 'I'm not for sure where it's at,' and we say we have the Statue of Liberty and, 'Oh, yes, I've seen it and it's cool,'" he said.

In the last three decades, the city has also erected a memorial to veterans from the area, and if you're a real history buff, there is also a Liberty Bell that the town converted from an old firehouse bell, and yes, it does have a crack down the middle.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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