James Buritt McHose was an admirer of Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Rider hero of the Spanish American War and 26th president of the United States.
On July 25, 1924, McHose and his wife, Ella, proposed to give nearly 200 acres of land on the southwest side of Boone to the city for a park. The city accepted the McHoses’ offer. When McHose died in June of 1927 at the age of 78, shortly after the park’s dedication, he specified in his will that a statue of Roosevelt be placed in the park.
Boone lawyer and administrator of McHose’s will, John W. Jordan, was responsible for overseeing the placement of McHose’s tribute to Roosevelt in the park. In 1941 he found Italian-born New York sculptor Vincenzo Miserendino, who himself was a Roosevelt admirer, and who had produced a number of statues of the former president. After a few months of negotiation, the two men signed the contract for the statue in November of 1941 and Miserendino began working on his design. He finished his final clay model early in 1943 and supervised the production of a three-ton plaster mold into which the bronze would be poured.
However, fate, in the form of WWII and the federal government, stepped in, diverting the project for several years. Miserendino purchased 4,000 pounds of bronze for the casting, but when he contacted the foundry in May of 1943 to inform them that the mold was ready for casting, he was told that the metal, although already paid for, was frozen by government order. Discussions with federal officials failed to convince the government to release the metal. The statute would have to wait until WWII was over.
Further complicating matters, Miserendino died on Dec. 26, 1943. His son, Joseph, closed his father’s studio and placed the plaster mold in storage to await casting at a later time.
The monument was finally cast in 1946 by the prestigious Roman Bronze Corporation of Corona, N.Y. It arrived in Boone in November of that year and was put in storage to await delivery of its granite base. Once again, installation was delayed when the granite base, which had originally been scheduled for delivery in August of 1947, did not arrive until December.
The three granite blocks which form the statue’s base were put into place on Jan. 6, 1948. The bronze Roosevelt statue, which stood 6’3”, was placed on top. The statue depicts Roosevelt rising out of a mountainous landscape with his hand outstretched as if addressing a crowd. Ten bas reliefs of Roosevelt’s outdoor accomplishments are depicted below his figure.