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City’s Next Sculpture Tells a Story

Published in the Rutland Herald | Story by Gordon Dritschilo | May 18, 2018

A tale of two mothers was told Friday at Green Mountain Power’s Energy Innovation Center.

 Sculptor Evan Morse stands with Amanda Sisk's maquette of the future Ann Story sculpture.

One of those mothers was Ann Story, an early Rutland settler and Revolutionary War hero who is the subject of the next large marble statue planned for placement in Rutland. A scale model of the statue was unveiled at the EIC Friday.

The other was Evelyn Gammons Costello, whose lineage includes a number of prominent Rutlanders and whose descendants have banded together to fund the Ann Story statue in her honor.

“Many of the people funding it are not able to be here,” said Steve Costello, Evelyn Costello’s grandson and organizer of the funding effort. “They are spread all over the country. Our cousins settled everywhere, it seems.”

Developer Mark Foley, Evelyn Costello’s great-grandson, said she loomed large over the family, raising nine children after her husband died.

“The mythology around her in our family is really epic,” he said. “She was a true matriarch.”

Foley linked his great-grandmother to Story, saying they were both strong-willed women: a type of person society has often not appreciated as much as it should.

“They’ve been there in the world for a long time — their stories just haven’t been able to be told,” Foley said. “Hopefully they’re starting to be told.”

Ann Story came to Rutland with her husband from Connecticut, according to the president of the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter, which is named after her.

Barbara Giffin said they came to homestead, which required them to clear land in Salisbury and live on it for a year, but Story’s husband died clearing the land.

“A life for a widow with five children and no land was not a good thing,” Giffin said. “She made the brazen move to go up and homestead that land. … The determination of your grandmother and Ann Story — these were remarkable women and Rutland was built by amazing women.”

The family stayed on the land when the Revolutionary War broke out, and Story fed and housed Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, once sending her son with a note to warn Allen about a British spy.

 A woman views the maquette at the Energy Innovation Center in Downtown Rutland, Vermont on May 18th, 2018.

The sculpture shows Story and one of her sons. Each is looking out, as if for danger, in the opposite direction as the son holds an ax.

Sculptor Amanda Sisk made the miniature version out of clay while living in a cabin with no electricity or running water and only a wood stove for heat.

“It wasn’t until after sculpting that I gained a unique appreciation for pioneer life,” she said.

The full-size — 7-by-4-by-3 feet — statue will be sculpted by Evan Morse, based on Sisk’s model.

“Amanda’s done all the work to date,” said Morse, who starts carving Monday and is expected to finish in September. “I’m now taking the baton, I guess.”

Morse will work at The Carving Studio & Sculpture Center in West Rutland. Carol Driscoll, the executive director, said Vermont Quarries donated the marble and Green Mountain Power has covered the transportation costs.

The Costello family raised roughly $40,000 for other expenses, according to Steve Costello, who said the exact placement of the statue had not been decided.

“We’re looking at several spots on West Street and possibly on Merchants Row,” he said.

The statue is the third in a series. The first was a representation of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” placed outside Phoenix Books. The second, a stone quarry worker, has been placed in the Center Street Alley, where a long-running renovation project is nearing completion.

Two more have been planned, honoring Andrea Mead Lawrence and African-Americans from Vermont who served in the Civil War. Costello said they hope to ultimately see five more statues after that.

Read the full article in the Rutland Herald.