LAKE GENEVA — Gary Gygax, co-creator of the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons and father of the role-playing phenomenon, gave millions of men and women a gift: husbands, wives and lifelong friends.
Gygax's wife, Gail, and his children want the local gaming giant to be remembered for his immeasurable contribution by erecting a memorial statue of him in his hometown.
I think this is brilliant. I lived and worked in Lake Geneva for many years, both at TSR and freelance, and think that a Gygaxian statue would be a very good thing. Gamers have seen Lake Geneva as a Mecca, and aside from a slew of buildings in various states of repair and repurposed to other duties scattered around the town and recognizable only to those who were there at the time, there is nothing to speak of the man or his company.
The place they are proposing the statue - Library Park, is a tree-shaded strip of land overlooking the northern bend of Geneva Lake itself. It is next to the public library, a lovely low structure that (if I remember right) was designed by one of Frank Lloyd Wright's students. There is a small and tasteful Veteran's memorial, but other than that, it is a sprawling lawn suitable for picnics in the summer, watching the ice houses in the winter.
There is a second park along the lake in town as well, Flat Iron Park, a triangular (of course) wedge that is more open and used for carnivals (during the Venetian Festival) weddings, and other large events. This park already has a statue - to the comic strip character Andy Gump. Most Wisconsin towns have a civil war soldier, we get a character from the pages of the Chicago Tribune (Gump's creator lived in Lake Geneva). It has been one of the quirky things about Lake Geneva, and bodes well for the possibility for a statue to another talented native son.
The addition of a Gygax statue would be a good thing for Lake Geneva, a good thing for gamers, and a good thing for the memory of the man who co-created the game and built the company that has given me (and a lot of other creatives) so much for so many years.
I'll keep you guys in the loop on this. More later,