Ok folks - if you've been downtown lately near the Mission Inn, you've probably seen that new abomination referred to as the Eliza Tibbets statue. No one I've spoken to is happy with it, and everyone has an opinion of what it really looks like (certainly not Eliza herself). So, I'm going to start a list of all of the (printable) ideas that I've heard regarding the statue. Do you have others? Please let me know!
Pomona (the Roman goddess of fruit, not the town!)
The hood ornament of a Rolls-Royce
Butterfly McQueen (one of the slave girls in "Gone With The Wind")
Evita Peron (the leader of Argentina about whom the musical "Evita" was written)
I'm sure there are others. What is universal is that the statue isn't Eliza Tibbets. Too bad - they could have done so much. Of course, the artist and the people behind the statue say that they chose a younger Eliza to portray because people would rather have themselves immortalized as they were when they were younger, not older. There are 2 problems with that reasoning. One, the statue looks nothing like the younger Eliza Tibbets shown in a picture in the new book Creating an Orange Utopia by Patricia Ortlieb and Peter Economy (at a book signing on October 22 at Riverside's Barnes and Noble, Ortlieb indicated that that picture was used by the artist to make the rendition). Second, since she is being immortalized as the founder of the orange industry here in Riverside, and she was about 50 years old when she came to Riverside, her likeness should have been in accordance with her time here. She looked very much like Queen Victoria, and prided herself in that likeness. So, we now have an expensive statue that took years to develop and raise funds for, that further degrades the history of this area. I'm actually not too surprised, given the City's all-but-declared war on our history and historic structures. It shouldn't be too much of a shock that we'd get a poor excuse for a statue of one of Riverside's most important residents.