Saturday, June 1, 2013

Pioneer Statuary Group and Buffalo Head Drinking Fountain

In 1884 a committee appointed by Iowa Governor Buren R. Sherman chose architect John Weidenmann of New York City to design plans for an improved State Capitol grounds. These plans were set aside while work on the Capitol continued.

In 1890 the actual work to improve the grounds began and was completed in 1892.

 The design for this group called: "The Pioneer of the former territory, a group consisting of father and son guided by a friendly Indian in search of a home". The pioneer depicted was to be hardy, capable of overcoming the hardships of territorial days to make Iowa his home.

Connecticut artist, Karl Gerhardt was contracted to do the piece for $4,500.

The Buffalo Head Drinking Fountain was designed by Alexander Doyle for $500, Doyle also designed the Great Seal tablet. Originally designed to be a lions head it was decided the bronze buffalo head was more appropriate to Iowa's prairie environment. The drinking fountain was made for both horses and humans.

Both are located on the Iowa State Capitol Complex and are part of the Monuments and Memorials Tour in Des Moines.


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