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Ask the Times: Statues of presidents made of marble
The statues of 21 U.S. presidents at The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center in downtown Gainesville are made of marble. They were carved in Asia. - photo by Clark Leonard

What do those big white statues in Gainesville by the downtown square consist of?

Located at The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center, the statues of 21 United States presidents are made of marble, said Scott Wiley, vice president of operations at Memorial Park Funeral Home. Wiley said the statues were carved in Asia.

Jack Frost, owner of Memorial Park Funeral Home, commissioned the statues, and he plans to eventually move them to Memorial Park Cemetery to be placed in a new garden, Wiley said.

The statues aren’t in order of when the presidents served and account for a little less than half of the country’s 44 presidents — Grover Cleveland served two separate terms and is counted twice, which is why Donald Trump is considered the 45th president.

Among the presidents on display in downtown Gainesville are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Each statue has a quote from its president below the statue. Some are more well-known, serious quotes, while James A. Garfield’s reads, “Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.”

Richard Nixon’s reads: “Those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.”

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