In the past, the people of Battle Creek have demonstrated
their willingness to remember people important to the community. The new statue of
Sojourner Truth will continue this tradition.
Truth called Battle Creek home for more
than twenty years and residents now have the opportunity to contribute to the creation of
her memorial in Monument Park. The 12-foot figure will join the two existing monuments
that were also created through the active participation of local citizens.
The first statue which was erected in the park honors cereal magnate C.W.
Post. In 1891 Post came to Battle Creek as a middle aged, chronically ill business
failure. By the end of the decade, he was a millionaire entrepreneur who inspired dozens
of others to imitate him, sparking the city's "cereal boom."
Despite his financial success, Post died an untimely death in 1914. The stunned
citizens of Battle Creek "felt it was proper and fitting for the town to recognize
those who do conspicuous service in the capacity of town-builders."
Post certainly qualified as a "town-builder." Not only did he establish a
thriving business which became one of the town's leading employers, but he also created
the Post Additions on the city's east side. Convinced that a worker who owned his own home
was a more stable and more productive worker, Post bought land near his factory and made
building lots and inexpensive homes available to his employees.
After he had earned his personal fortune and solidified his business, Post turned to
building downtown Battle Creek. Between 1901 and 1913 he transformed the west end of the
city, constructing the Post Tavern, the Post Office Building, a ten-story Annex, the
Marjorie office block and the Post Theater.
To erect an "enduring monument" to this energetic city builder, the people of
Battle Creek banded together and raised $10,000 during the winter of 1916.
A portion of Monument Square at the intersection of Division and Main streets was
officially set aside and renamed Post Park. There the bronze statue of C.W. Post was
dedicated in May 1917.
For the next 16 years, Post sat alone in his park. It was not until 1933 that the
ground was broken for the second monument.
But when it was built, the stone tower was so unique that it was featured in Ripley's
Believe It or Not.
The tower, or "Rock of Ages," as Ripley called it, was the dream of
Battle Creek historian James H. Brown. For several years Brown led auto tours to historic
sites on the east coast. On these trips he picked up stones from the places he visited,
including Plymouth Rock, Mt. Vernon and Lincoln's birthplace.
Brown also collected stones and objects related to Battle Creek's history. A stone
dedicated to the memory of Sojourner Truth is mounted in the northwest corner of the
Before he began construction in 1935, Brown carefully planned the layout of the tower.
Part of his plan was to include wide participation by groups of young people. Local Boy
Scouts and 4-H club members contributed their old jack knives to the tower. School
children from around the city collected more than 3,000 pebbles and small stones which
were buried in the tower base.
As they stand today in Monument Park, the two existing memorials reflect the active
participation of the citizens of Battle Creek.
The new statue of Sojourner Truth will continue this tradition. As a citizen of the
city Truth called home for more than twenty years, you, too, will have the opportunity to
contribute to the creation of her memorial in Monument Park.