Commonwealth Journal

News Live

July 13, 2013

John Sherman Cooper statue will hold a very special spot as Fountain Square undergoes its latest transformation


Somerset —

Less controversial — more adorable — was an article from March 1, 1985 concerning the plans to place a statue of square savior Cooper in that prime location. The seventh- and eighth-grade students of Mrs. Alice Wayman at Meece Middle School set about the task of raising money for the statue. Collected in that handiest of containers, a glass jar, the students raised a grand total of $43.50
A total of $60,000 was needed for the cost of the two sculptures — one a bust of Cooper that would be placed in the state capitol rotunda in October of 1987 — but every little bit helped.
Cooper’s sister-in-law, Cornelia Dozier Cooper — wife of the late Richard “Dick” Cooper, the senator’s brother — found the newspaper clipping about the industrious youth in a folder of media mementos she’d gathered over the years. She enjoyed a good laugh about it — one gilded with admiration for the students — over a conversation with a reporter this week. 
“Isn’t that interesting?” she remarked. Cornelia Cooper also noted that the Young Republican and Young Democrat Clubs put aside their philosophical differences to raise the money to have the sculptures completed.
“It made me believe in the people of Kentucky that they would recognize John Sherman Cooper for what he stands for,” she said. “For our young people to look up to a man like that.”
Cornelia Cooper said that she had a “wonderful” husband — Dick Cooper, the local business and banking icon — who was “the same kind of man” as the senator.
“(Sen. Cooper) said that Dick was the nicest man he’d ever known,” said Cooper with a laugh before adding, “and he had another brother (Don Cooper).”
Cornelia and Richard Cooper had a role in transforming the square the same as the senator and his wife — they found the sculptor for Sen. Cooper’s statue, enlisting Louisville artist Barney Bright. The statue was unveiled September 27, 1986, right in the heart of Somerset.

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