12 Madonnas of the Trail/ Margaritas

Tonight we felt like a Margarita and Mexican food for dinner so, we drove to Elviras in Upland. Not only for great food but, according to Patti, for a margarita that will make you lose touch with your face. They did and she did- lose contact with her face.

While enjoying a combo plate of Tacos and Enchiladas I realized that we were 3/10th mile near the 12th Madonna of the Trail.

Yes, 11 more are spread from here to Maryland tracing a historic travel route from the old covered wagon days.

Upland Madonna and my Jeep nearby

The Madonna of the Trail is a stony-faced pioneer Mom, in long dress and bonnet, strutting westward clutching a rifle with one hand, an infant with the other, and another little ankle biter grasping at Mom’s skirt.

Nearly all of the five-ton pioneer moms face west. To properly honor the pioneer spirit, one should retrace the entire trail, and photograph all twelve cookie cutter statues.

Or, with less honor, take twelve photos of one (like me) and say you saw ’em all…

  1. Bethesda, Maryland
  2. Beallsville, Pennsylvania
  3. Wheeling, West Virginia
  4. Springfield, Ohio
  5. Richmond, Indiana
  6. Vandalia, Illinois
  7. Lexington, Missouri
  8. Council Grove, Kansas
  9. Lamar, Colorado
  10. Albuquerque, New Mexico
  11. Springerville, Arizona
  12. Upland, California – excellent margaritas nearby. 10/8/2020 visit.
The artist envisioned a scene in which she is looking for her husband whom she believes to be in danger – actually he was nearby drinking margaritas. All of these traits suggest that she is a strong “new woman.”

(GPS: 34.107224, -117.651186)

Dedicated: February 1, 1929

Historical Significance of Site: Convergence of 4 trails: The Mohave Indian Trail, The Anza Trail, The Emigrant Trail (an offshoot of the Santa Fe Trail), and the Colorado Road (used by the Butterfield Stage Coach). PONDER THAT FOR A SECOND OR TWO. Today all I saw was traffic as I took this picture.

Statue Faces: South – not West like the Madonna was headed but, south for a better view by us.

Moved: slightly to accommodate road construction

Restored: 1980s

Rededicated: 1979

Comments: In contrast to most of the other DAR statues, Upland’s Madonna features prominently in local popular culture. In 1930, a historical pageant made a pilgrimage to the statue.

In 2014 it served as the starting and ending point for a protest demanding more crossing guards for a nearby school. And local columnist John Weeks mocked a parental warning issued for a nearby Shakespeare festival by encouraging readers to imagine the Madonna of the Trail nude.

In 1911 the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) set out to mark the “Old Trails Road” stretching from Maryland to California. Initial plans called for painted mileage markers throughout the route.

Those plans were later abandoned in favor of pioneer mother statues. The National Old Trails Road Association (NOTR) was created to study the trails and select routes to designate.

Judge (and later U.S. President) Harry S. Truman led the NOTR and spoke at the first monument dedication in 1928.

One Madonna of the Trail statue was erected in each of the states through which the National Old Trails Road passed, at the cost of $1,000 per statue.

The statues were placed along key (white) migration routes, such as the early-19th-century National Road and Santa Fe Trail (which became U.S. Highway 40 and the infamous Route 66 in the 20th century, respectively).

Your tacos are served