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Portrait of Richard Lieber added to Hoosier Heritage Gallery

Friday, November 11, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- A portrait of Col. Richard Lieber, founder of Indiana's state parks whose name adorns Lieber State Recreation Area in southern Putnam County, is the newest addition to the Hoosier Heritage Gallery displayed on the south wall of the Governor's Office.

"The highest honor we will pay Col. Lieber can be found at Goose Pond, the Muscatatuck Bottoms, the Wabash River Corridor and the rest of the record program of conservation now under way across Indiana," Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said.

Born in Düsseldorf, Germany in 1869, Lieber moved to Indianapolis in 1891. He was a reporter for the Indiana Tribune before starting a chemical company and a drink-bottling plant.

Inspired by a visit to Yosemite National Park, Lieber became active in the conservation movement and promoted creation of a state park system to coincide with Indiana's centennial celebration in 1916.

He was named the first chairman of the Indiana State Parks Committee and opened Turkey Run and McCormick's Creek in 1916 without the use of public funds. Lieber championed the creation of a state department of conservation, serving as chairman of the new department until 1933. During his reign, he oversaw creation of 10 state parks and five state memorials.

He died in 1944, ironically while vacationing at McCormick's Creek's Canyon Inn.

The portrait of Lieber, painted by Helen Briggs Duckwall, is on loan from the Indiana State Museum. It replaces the portrait of Cole Porter.

In January 2006, Daniels designated the south wall of the Governor's Office as a place for portraits of historically important Hoosiers -- a change in the longstanding tradition of hanging portraits solely of former governors. The portraits, which are loaned to the state, are part of a rotating exhibit that is updated periodically. In addition to Lieber, portraits of philanthropist Bill Cook, journalist Ernie Pyle and Saint Mother Théodore Guérin currently hang in the Governor's Office.

Information about Hoosier Heritage Galleryportraits is available at www.in.gov/gov/2560.htm.

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