Looking over Voayager Shoulder

Still Room for more.

Chief Black Hawk and Dr. Beaumont

Emma Big Bear and Victorian Lady

Aunt Marianne Labuche will be the next bronze sculpture. She was Prairie Du Chien's first Physician. She rescued and nursed her granddaughter, baby Louise Gagnier who had been scalped and left for dead. Photo is small replica.

Shelter

Dedicated in 2013, the Mississippi River Sculpture Park Shelter will provide families and friends to gather, share a meal, and imagine the possibilities.

Dr. Beaumont and Son Israel: (installed June 10, 2006)

* Florence  Bird, sculptor

screenshot-mail.google.com 2016-05-19 09-55-35_thumbPeople at the Prairie du Chien Historical Society told me about the experiments that Dr. Beaumont performed on his patient, Alexis St.Martin. At the Fort Crawford Medical Museum I saw a picture of Dr.Beaumont and his family including his son Israel. Reginald Horseman from Milwaukee gave a talk about Dr. Beaumont and his family at the unveiling ceremony. The well-known name Beaumont is derived from Dr. Beaumont who was famous for his discoveries of the digestive system observed through the opening into Alexis St.Martin’s stomach, which was from a healed, but not closed bullet wound. These discoveries are still included in present day medical texts.

I chose to portray Dr. Beaumont as a family man and put the image of the caduceus on his coat buttons to signify that he was a medical doctor. When I screenshot-mail.google.com 2016-05-19 09-55-15_thumb[1]learned that Dr. Beaumont had a toupee we had fun at the foundry speculating whether we should make this a separate removable bronze hair piece. I put a frog in the hands of his son Israel, because I figured that little boys are fascinated with live wiggly things.

Florence Bird Studio, LLC

florence.bird@frontier.com

PO Box 126

Spring Green, WI 53588

608-588-2887

Next Bronze Statue–Aunt Mary Ann LaBuche*

(Donation Info)I first heard of Aunt Mary Ann LaBuche from a friend who suggested that she was significant in the history of Prairie du Chien and this region.
Her story is unique and different. As the first physician, before medical doctors arrived in the community, she contributed to many people's lives with her herbal and folk remedy healing.
The most dramatic was the rescue and healing of her granddaughter who, as a baby, was scalped and left for dead during what eastern newspapers called the Red Bird Massacre.
Her family was attacked by the native Red Bird and his cohorts who were seeking revenge for tribal deaths. This happened just south of Prairie du Chien, where Walmart now has a parking lot.
Mrs. Gagnier and her son escaped after her husband and a friend were killed, and her baby, Mary Louisa Gagnier, was scalped and left for dead.
Aunt Mary Ann took the baby, who was still alive, and applied a silver plate to the wound (silver is an antibiotic) and nursed her tenderly with herbs and loving care. The baby lived to be 67 years old and always wore a ribbon in her hair to cover her scar
.Aunt Mary Ann LaBuche, like many settlers in this area, was of mixed heritage, part French,part Sioux, and part African American.
While I was modeling the first image of her, which is shown on our website, I emphasized her African heritage by the features on her face. Recently, I met some of her descendants who have researched her life and showed me a photograph of Mary Louisa Charrier (the baby in the story), taken when she was an adult. I have remodeled the features of the Aunt Mary Ann LaBuche to reflect a more accurate family portrait. It makes me feel like I am participating in this amazing family history.
Artist, Florence Bird

Prairie du Chien’s Jewel

There is simply no other park like this in the Midwest. Dare I write, in the US!
The Mississippi River Sculpture Park is  included in the wiki list of sculpture parks (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sculpture_parks) This, in itself, is no small accomplishment.
The Mississippi River Sculpture Park is in the second oldest permanent settled community in Wisconsin. Prairie du Chien is located in the Driftless Area of south western Wisconsin, a few paddle strokes north of the confluence of the Mississippi River and Wisconsin Rivers. It’s open 365 days of the year, free of charge for all. There is no playground. It is a park with no swings, jungle gym, slide, or sand box. It is a city-owned park. It is on an island surrounded by the waters of the Mississippi River. This, alone should make it unique.
St Feriole Island Western sandy shore touches the East channel of the Mississippi River. Throughout the eons of time, many people have set foot on the sands and perhaps, walked inland in search of food or protection from the elements of nature. The Mississippi River Sculpture Park is dedicated to these visitors who may have stayed for a few days, or stayed for generations. 
The Mississippi River Sculpture Park has life sized bronze sculptures. Florence Bird, Sculptor, recalls: “Finding this deep ancient Mississippi valley and learning of the people who have inhabited this area and whose descendants are still calling this beautiful region home has been a great adventure.”
Today, there are five life-sized sculptures: Chief Black Hawk, Dr. William Beumont and son, Israel, a Victorian Lady, a voyager, and Emma Big Bear. Each one intricately sculpted. Again, Florence Bird: “It may not be understood that these are one-of-a-kind works of art made in the tradition of famous museum pieces and other public bronze monuments. They are each made especially for the Mississippi River Sculpture Park in Prairie du Chien, to illustrate the history and prehistory of this area. These statues are not mass produced decorative garden pieces. Each one requires its own separate production process starting with the inspiration of the artist. The whole process takes from 6 to 8 months for each statue. The techniques and tools are similar to ones used for bronze statues of all ages. Each bronze statue will last for thousands of years. “
The park will, someday be home to 22 additional sculptures. The next sculpture to be installed will be Marianne Labuche.  The Park Board is hopeful that with  a successful fund raising campaign, she will be dedicated within the next year.
Next time you and your family are anywhere close to Prairie du Chien, Come for a visit. The Mississippi River Sculpture Park, a jewel in the Midwest, will not be forgotten.