The Boy With The Boot

What started out in 2004 as a simple photo shoot for Weird Ohio has turned into a personal obsession of mine. Sent to Sandusky, Ohio, to take write a story and photos of a statue known as The Boy with the Boot, I was immediately struck with the complete lack of solid, verifiable information about the statue, such as who made it or what the statue was even supposed to represent…other than a boy with a boot.

Add to this the fact that copies of this statue can be found all over the world (where it is sometimes referred to as The Boy with the Leaking Boot) and it wasn’t long before I was obsessed with all things related to this enigmatic statue.

The following is just a small sample of some of the Boy with the Boot memorabilia I have collected over the years:

 
 
Metal Statue (Hershey, PA)

DSC02890

The sticker on the base of the statue reads: “Boy with the leaking boot – Hershey – PA”. While the sticker is clearly not original, it does appear as though whoever painted the statue used the Hershey, PA version as a model. I say this because, to date, the Hershey statue is the only one I’ve found that has the boy’s shirt painted blue.

 

 

Tabletop Statue

Boy with the Boot Tabletop

Unknown manufacturing date. Markings on bottom of base are as follows:
Boy with the Leaking Boot
Pierce Park, Houlton, Maine
 
Made possible by a donation of Clara Frisbie in 1914, the fountain was purchased from J.L. Mott Iron Works in New York State. The statue is no longer available, but as of 1975, there were approximately 26 similar statues throughout the world. Houlston is one of the only places where you’ll find the statue installed in a drinking fountain.
 
Catherine Karnes Munn collection
Exclusively Commissioned by Country North Gifts

 

 

Christmas Ornament

Boy with Boot Christmas Ornament

Small etched glass ornament (you kind of need to stare at it for a few seconds in order to see the Boy). Unknown which statue this is supposed to be,  although it’s clearly one that was used as a fountain as there is water coming from the boot. Unknown manufacturer or date, although the small red “Merry Christmas” box ornament is housed inside of has “1993” handwritten along the bottom.

 

 

Pewter Plate

Boy with Boot Pewter Plate

Other than it’s depicting the Sandusky, Ohio statue, not much is known about the manufacturer of this plate. There are 5 distinct marks on the back of the plate, though:

  • 2 circles (one small, one large), both with “rWp” inside them
  • 2 circles (one small, one large), both with a strange r-shaped symbol inside them
  • One line reading: “Wilton, Columbia, PA”
 
 
Cleethorpes Ceramic Plate

DSC02908

Ceramic plate depicting the Cleethorpes, England statue. No date or other markings on the back of the place.

 
 
Cleethorpes Pin
Boy with Boot Cleethorpes Pin

Weird little enamel and metal pin that features the Cleethorpes statue. What makes the pin weird is that it is apparently one designed for a local group, Charlie Lima, that is involved with amateur short wave radio communications, which is often referred to as DX or DXing (“DX” being telegraphic shorthand for “distant”). No additional information is known about the pin.

 
 
China Plates
boy with boot plates

Two different-sized plates, each with the same design and depicting the “Washington Park” Boy with the Boot statue in Sandusky, Ohio. Plates have no other markings or manufacturer stamps.

 
 
Needlepoint Template

boy with boot needlepointLooks homemade and the image appears to be painted/drawn on. Other than the “D.K. Needlepoint Shop” that repeats around the outside border, there’s a “#14″ written in pencil on the bottom right. No other information is known about the piece.

 
 
Thimble

boy with boot thimbleBack of the thimble says:

The Boy With The Leaking Boot
Cleethorpes
 
 
Boy with the Leaking Boot Postcard: Houlton, Maine

boy with boot postcard maineUndated postcard depicting the statue in Houlton, Maine. Back of the postcard reads as follows:

The “BOY WITH THE LEAKING BOOT”, one of about 25 such statues in the world, stands in the fountain in Monument Park, Houlton, Maine. Origin and sculptor are unknown. The fountain was installed in 1916; purchased with the bequest of Mrs. Clara P. Frisbie.
 
 
Boy with His Leaking Boot Postcard: Willingford, Vermont (shadow)

boy with boot shadow postcardI have two versions of what appears to essentially be the same postcard; this one, which appears to be the older of the two, and the one below. I refer to the one above as “shadow” due to the statue casting a pronounced shadow behind it which is not visible in the “no shadow” version. Another noticeable difference it that they seem to be shot from slightly different angles and the dirty water from the fountain appears to have stained the right side of the statue (especially the pants and leg/foot).Copy on the back of this undated postcard reads as follows:

“The Boy with his Leaking Boot” Willingford, Vermont. This famous landmark is located on the lawn of beautiful Wallingford Inn, Wallingford, Vermont. The origin is debatable, but it was erected 1898 as the village watering trough and moved to its present location in 1927 to make room for the model T’s.
 
 
Boy with His Leaking Boot Postcard: Houlton, Maine (no shadow)

boy with boot no shadow postcardThis postcard looks to be the newer version of the “no shadow” version postcard (see above). While the picture on the front is clearly a different shot (and the statue itself appears to have been repainted/repaired),  the copy on the back of this undated card is exactly the same as the “no shadow” version:

“The Boy with his Leaking Boot” Willingford, Vermont. This famous landmark is located on the lawn of beautiful Wallingford Inn, Wallingford, Vermont. The origin is debatable, but it was erected 1898 as the village watering trough and moved to its present location in 1927 to make room for the model T’s.
 
 
Boy with the Boot Statue (stamp)

boy with boot figure stampI have two versions of this statue, the only difference being that this version has a code written/stamped on the bottom of the statue’s right foot. The stamp reads “KW60/560″.

 
 
Boy with the Boot Statue (no stamp)

boy with boot figure no markings
2nd version of this statue. It is identical to the “stamped” version with the exception being that there is no stamp or other marking on the bottom of this statue.

 
 
True West Magazine

true west magazine

February 1981 issue of True West magazine, which contains a 6-page article about the Boy with the Leaking Boot, including a story that states the statue is based on a Civil War story about a young boy carrying water to the battlefield in his boot in order to help wounded soldiers.

 
 
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I'm done with the museum. Take me home, please!

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