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November 7, 2011

Gov. Daniels adds father of Indiana’s parks system to Hoosier Heritage Gallery

INDIANAPOLIS — A portrait of Col. Richard Lieber, founder of Indiana’s state parks, is the newest addition to the Hoosier Heritage Gallery that adorns 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," 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 company. Inspired by a visit to Yosemite National Park, Lieber became active in the conservation movement and promoted the 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 McCormick’s Creek and Turkey Run in 1916 without the use of public funds. Lieber championed the creation of a state department of conservation and served as chairman of the new department until 1933. During this time, he oversaw the creation of 10 state parks and five state memorials. He died in 1944 while vacationing at McCormick's Creek's Canyon Inn.

Lieber’s legacy continues today as Indiana has recently received national recognition for making land conservation and preservation a top priority. Earlier this year, Ducks Unlimited, a national conservation organization, presented Daniels its 2011 Wetland Conservation Achievement Award for his long-term contributions to wetlands and waterfowl conservation. He is only the second governor to receive the award.

The portrait of Lieber was painted by Helen Briggs Duckwall and 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 and inventor Bill Cook, journalist Ernie Pyle and Saint Mother Théodore Guérin currently hang in the Governor’s Office.

Information about portraits previously featured in the Hoosier Heritage Gallery is available at www.in.gov/gov/2560.htm.

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