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Bronze sculpture by Robert Merrell Gage (1892-1981) honoring Topekan L. Philip Billard (1891-1918). Male figure with arms outstretched soaring upwards. Billard was a noted early aviator, purchasing his first plane from fellow Topekan Albin Longren in 1912. In 1916 he was made a Captain in the Kansas National Guard and tasked with developing the State's first aviation unit. In August of 1917, shortly after the U.S. entered World War I, he enlisted in the regular Army and became a test pilot in France, where he was killed in a crash on July 24, 1918. The statue was commissioned by the Topeka Rotary Club, of which Billard was a member. The artist, Topeka-born Robert Merrell Gage, was a nationally known sculptor and a World War I veteran himself.

Creator: Gage, Robert Merrell
Date: 1921

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Item Number: 406010
KSHS Identifier: 1921.48.0

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