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ENNIS — The front lawn of the high school here boasts a new set of statues valued at over $500,000.

Emerson Hall, 93, donated the five bronze mustangs in honor of his wife, Theda, who died in August 2004 at the age of 88.

The couple lived and worked in Hollywood, Calif., for 45 years before moving to Ennis in the late 1970s.

"She just adored this place," Emerson Hall said. "Every morning she'd get up and open the drapes and look out at the Madison River and the Madison Range. She just soaked it in."

Emerson also bought two Steinway pianos for the school district and is helping pay for a new performing arts auditorium, all in Theda's name.

The larger-than-life-sized statues — two stallions, two mares and a colt — were unveiled Monday during a concert at Ennis High School.

"It will be the cornerstone of our school," Principal Greg Fitzgerald said. Mustangs are the school's mascot.

The statues were created by Hall's longtime friend Douglas Van Howd of Auburn, Calif., who served as official White House artist during the Reagan Administration.

Van Howd, 71, said the 6,000-pound piece took over a year and a half to make.

"I don't think there's a high school in the country with a monument of this magnitude," he said.

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It's a fitting tribute to Theda, Emerson Hall said.

"Our married life was so unbelievable, it will never be matched by anybody ever again," he said. "I'll never be happy again as long as I'm alive, but I'm content.

"I know she would approve of it."

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