Saturday, November 22, 2008

Prescott's heroic bronzes

Premiere, of course, being the Rough Rider monument on the Square, at the front of the Courthouse. The creation of Solon Borglum, it is one of two local bronzes by the brother of Gutzon Borglum who designed Mt. Rushmore. The sculpture honors William "Bucky" O'Neill, one of the city's most famous sons, who led a local contingent of over 200 men to Cuba in the Spanish-American War, where he died. The statue was commissioned by the city for a fee of ten thousand dollars and unveiled in 1907, according to the Sharlot Hall Museum web site, which also gives data on four other major monumental bronzes in downtown Prescott.

Cowboy at Rest is the other Borglum work at the Courthouse. An upscaled version of a miniature original, it was dedicated in 1990.

The third Courthouse bronze is the All Veterans Memorial by Neil Logan, dedicated in 1989, to honor Prescott area veterans of the Vietnam War.

Now here is a lively monument to the rodeo cowboy that far too many people are unaware of. In fact, I was among them until a few months back when my friend Patty insisted that I take a look. The sculpture is at the entrance of Prescott City Hall, kittycornered from the Square at Goodwin and Cortez. Named Early Rodeo, it is the work of Richard Terry. 1988.

The fifth monumental work is dedicated to the city's Early Settlers, depicting a cowboy, a mule skinner, a gold prospector and pioneer woman. Created by Bill Nebeker, it was dedicated in 1985. Location: the little park at the east end of town where SR69 divides into Gurley on the south and Sheldon on the north.

Not covered in the Sharlot Hall note is the last of the Prescott area bronzes, to be found at the entrance to the Frontier Village shopping center. And, I might add, facing north making it a difficult shot for detail. If the mall were a bit closer, I might be able to walk there and spend some time on the project, so I've had to be satisfied with a drive-by shooting.

FYI, the public library has a miniature of the Early Settlers on display near its coffee shop, as well as the miniature of an Indian woman and child (below). I'm curious -- does this second piece also exist as a monumental bronze somewhere in the area?


Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

I note, with approval, the absence of politicos in your suite of bronses--is this for real??


Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

erattum: bronze for bronse


sheoflittlebrain said...

I've been catching up again, GJ!
This is a great post. For years Buckey O'neal was our only big bronze. Then, as you point out, the others appeared in the eighties and nineties.
There's also that silver bull kicking up his heels by the hospital..but then he's not bronze..what is he anyway?

Granny J said...

bro -- Bucky O'Neill was at least a sheriff of Yavapai County, thus making him a political figure. On the other hand, unlike most cities to the east of us, we have no Civil War generals, which I always thought were the most common of civic action figures.

brain -- I think the bull is stainless steel. There was a post about him last year.

Anonymous said...

The "Early Settlers" monument reminds me of the nearby Aztec Motel.

That motor court fascinates me every time I drive by it.

I wonder if that motor court will survive 21st century Prescott?

~Anon in AV.

Granny J said...

anon av -- surely not because you saw those pioneers at the motel, eh? Don't think it will survive; it's been up for sale this past year & I presume it's a tear-down. Too bad.

TomboCheck said...

Very informative post, as usual GJ!!

Granny J said...

thanks, tombo -- I do have this unfortunate habit of trying to be encyclopedic, with the result that I'll put off a post for months because it's too much work...

Desert Cat said...

And here in Tucson we have the dubious distinction of hosting a statue of Pancho Villa.

Granny J said...

dc -- why am I not surprised. It seems to me you've had some "interesting" lessons being taught in your schools, too.

meggie said...

What a wonderful post. I love sculpture of reality. What wonderful work, all of it, & how nice to see it displayed so well.

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