Dr. Richard Bergen, Salina sculptor, created Ad Astra, a bronze Kanza Indian, to place
|"Ad Astra" is part of the Kansas motto: "Ad Astra Per Aspera" (To the stars through difficulty). The statue is 20' 2" & 4,420 lbs.||Kansas was named after the Kanza Indians, who were native to this area. The arrow is to point at the North Star.|
|Hundreds of area residents, school children, and visitors arrived during the lunch hour to watch the statue being raised. People perched on rooftops.||Dignitaries came to be photographed with the statue. The news media was there in force. A helicopter and a small plane circled capitol square.|
|A crane 450 feet high was used to lift the statue, which had been wrapped in nylon slings.||Rehearsals gave the lifting crew some time to experiment before the lift. Steve Smith ran the crane.|
Postscript: The crowd went home happy--only to learn that the statue was removed
from the dome that evening around 5:00. There was a problem with the screw mounts
in Ad Astra's base matching those in the mounting plate on the dome.
After three days of repair, the statue went back up to the dome. The second time it fit.
Scaffolding was removed in late October.
Read Statue tops dome in 'a monumental moment,' by Jim McLean, Topeka Capital-Journal 10/10/2002