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Miner statue featured on cover of phone book

BONNE TERRE — They call him Sam.

He used to be in the Bonne Terre City Park but now he’s got a spot in what is called Miner’s Park near City Hall, greeting everyone who passes through downtown.

The concrete statue that some call Sam was built in 1981 by Samuel Forest Wright. His uncles and grandfathers had been miners.

Now, because of Dion A. Davidson’s love for photography, this statue will be on the cover of AT&T’s new Missouri Parkland phone directory.

When Marsha Haskell of AT&T called Nancy Dill, the executive secretary of the Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce who retired from AT&T, asking about local landmarks and photography for the cover of Parkland phone book, Dill immediately thought of Davidson.

Davidson of Terre Du Lac, who worked six years at the Bonne Terre Post Office and currently is the postmaster at Caledonia, had won a photo contest at the fall festival. Contestants had been asked to “Show us how you see Bonne Terre.”

Davidson thought of the miner and superimposed the miner to make it look like he was looking over the city, protecting it. The view of the city was taken from Branch Street, he said.

Haskell said the photograph shows the region’s work ethic, strength, fortitude and especially its beauty. She said it was exactly what she was looking for.

The phone book was unveiled during a special ceremony Friday morning at Bonne Terre City Hall. Local and state officials, as well as members of the community attended.

The new phone books will start showing up at residences on Feb. 16. More than 56,000 copies have been produced. Extra copies and 8 by 10 photographs are available through the Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce.

Davidson, who has his own photography business (Photography by Dion), said this was a pretty huge honor for him. He’s received other recognition as well, which includes winning a Missouri Lottery contest.

He started photography in 1980 while attending Bismarck High School. He has shot pictures for Don Bess Studio, AAYBA, and Missouri Whitewater Association.

The statue’s creator, Wright, died 10 years ago on Feb. 8. His wife, Sandy, loves where his statue is now.

Ellen Blair-Taylor, Wright’s stepmom, said the city decided they wanted to erect a statue to honor miners and Wright got the bid. State Rep. Linda Fischer said the town had a fundraiser that brought in about $2,000 for the statue.

Moving it to the park was hard. His arm fell off on the first attempt, Taylor said.

Janet Barton, chairperson of the Bonne Terre Community Development Committee, said they have ordered a sign and lighting for the miner because many visitors to town don’t know what the statue is for. 

Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at

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