The Hiker Memorial was dedicated to the infantry of the Spanish American War of 1898, the Philippine Insurrection, and the China Relief Expedition. It was placed on the Capitol grounds on September 15, 1946, through the efforts of the various camps and auxiliaries of the United Spanish War Veterans of Michigan. The memorial cost $6,000.
The Hiker statue is bronze and was cast by Gorham Founders from a sculpture by Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson of Massachusetts, one of the first American women sculptors to gain international prominence. Eventually, forty-eight Hikers were cast between 1906 and 1965. They are located all over the country, including two others in Michigan - at Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.
The Hiker statues are currently the subject of an on-going National Park Service study to assess the extent of chloride pitting on outdoor bronze sculpture. The number and depth of the pits are one measure of atmospheric deterioration, and will help determine the effects of acid rain on cultural resources.