“Best of all he loved the fall, the leaves yellow on the cottonwoods. Leaves floating on the trout streams and above the hills. The high blue windless skies, now he will be a part of them forever.”
So reads the inscription on a simple bronze column, topped by a bust of Ernest Hemingway, overlooking the gently flowing Trail Creek in Sun Valley, Idaho.
The sculpture, by Robert Berks, was dedicated on Hemingway’s birthday—July 21, 1966—five years after the writer ended his life at his house in nearby Ketchum. The dedication address, delivered by Robert Manning, included the following words:
“…the occasion may have embarrassed Hemingway if he were alive, in the inner places of his pride of craft and of artistry—and he had much of this pride—it would have pleased him. It would have pleased him first because of this place, which he loved, to which he frequently returned, and in which he chose to die.’”
The inscription at the base of the sculpture was written by Hemingway as a eulogy for a friend, Gene Van Guilder, who died in 1939 in a hunting accident. Hemingway had only known the 35-year-old for a few weeks before his death, but agreed to write and read the eulogy at his funeral. Both Van Guilder and Hemingway are buried near each other in Ketchum Cemetery down the road.
Today, the memorial is a peaceful spot to spend a quiet hour reading Hemingway stories and reflecting on the outsized and ultimately tragic life of one of the 20th century’s great writers.
Know Before You Go
The Hemingway Memorial is located in Sun Valley, Idaho off of Trail Creek Road and Golf Lane. Visitors to the memorial should be warned that Trail Creek Road closes during the winter, making access to the memorial difficult.