Looking over Voyageur 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.

Mug To be featured on KCRG.

unnamedMississippi River Sculpture Park "mug" will be featured on KCRG January 8, 2015, around 6:50 a.m. on channel 9 (Cedar Rapids,Iowa).

The special Mug will be used to advertise the 2nd annual “Fun Follies” on Friday and Saturday, January 9-10, at the Prairie du Chien High School Little Theater.

The show will start at 7:30 both nights with a matinee on Saturday at 2P.M.

The Follies is a series of skits, dance routines, beautiful music, and lots of fun things that will make you laugh for the entire show. If you likes Laugh-in, then you will love the Follies.

Tickets are available at the door or by calling Cathie at 600326-8602.

The Mug Shot features various organization within the broadcast area. At the end of the year the mugs are auctioned off for a good cause.

Some Thoughts About the Mississippi River Sculpture Park**

Often public monuments commemorate an historical event or an “important” public figure. Sometimes a sculpture park will be for the display of contemporary sculpture by different artists.

The Mississippi River Sculpture Park is designed as a monument in honor of the people, some recognized as historically important and some who have, over the centuries, come to this Prairie du Chien area as ordinary people living their daily lives. Hunters, housewives and explorers, doctors, musicians and fishermen, some heroic, some adventuresome, some giving birth and some saving lives, all have contributed to the intricate tapestry of human endeavor defining this confluence region in the heart of our country.

There is no other place just like this. The beautiful Wisconsin and great Mississippi waterways have made it possible for this gathering of people sharing their stories and knowledge and lives with one another. This is the meeting ground for our collective cultural heritage. People have gathered here from all over the world for thousands of years. This rich diversity of knowledge and experience, I believe, helps to define the strength of our nation. We retain the knowledge of the Mastodon hunter and the tribal shaman, the voyageur and the basket maker, the riverboat captain and the Victorian Lady. We have inherited this great variety of experience.

Take, for instance, the latest sculpture planned for out park, Aunt Mary Ann La Buche. She came up river from New Orleans, was part African American, part French and part Sioux. She used a Spanish “Pieces of Eight” silver coin to disinfect the wound on her granddaughter who had been scalped by American Indians. She and her granddaughter each had 13 children. What a profound impact she had on our present day lives!

Each life size bronze figure contributes to our history and will remain available as a monument and resource for our many generations to come.

**Florence Bird, Artist

Follies 2015 Page 5 1/2

mudslingerSome of our readers may be familiar with “Page Six”, the New York Times Magazine. “Page Six” reports all of the latest gossip and scoops of favorite celebs. So, in the spirit of “Page Six” The Mississippi River Sculpture Park sought out a free lance, rumor digging, Mississippi mud slinger of their very own.

The writer, known as Mississippi Mudslinger, agreed to publish a rumor magazine featuring juicy “tidbits” for  the Follies of 2015. The articles are not quite as good as the real “Page Six” – hence the name “Page 5 1/2”.

-----------------------------------------------

* Page 5 1/2 has learned about an unsubstantiated rumor that a couple of local radio personalities are thinking about becoming active participants in the next Follies - a want to be comedian and a one man band. Who could they be?

* Another source has indicated that a contest of sorts might involve local businesses that sponsor talent.  A traveling trophy will be awarded to that business for the most inventive act for Follies 2015.

Who will it be: The Pink Gloves, hospital technicians with an act involving the song “monster mash”, or maybe the folks at the Local Piggly Wiggly  starting a new dance fad – The Piggle-wiggle, or a famous tv celeb dancing to the Mississippi Mud Stomp?

*Baton Twirlers?  recent and not-so-recent baton twirlers from local area schools are rumored to be considering a performance. Will the performance also have flaming batons?

*This reporter has learned, via a recently found Ouija board, that premium seating may be available with special perks involving cavorting with celebrities at an after show party, hor de-arvores, swag bag, and photo ops.  

*and last for this blog, but not the least – a 50/50 raffle. Wahoo!

Stay tuned for the latest gossip and rumors heard around town about the Follies 2015.

Untruthfully Yours,

Mississippi Mudslinger

Prairie du Chien–1960’s

The mojoDallas Project is a web-site which shows 3D modeling  of virtual  buildings which were located in  Prairie du Chien in the 1960’s. Each virtual design is rendered  as realistically as possible. Along with each building, the author provides memories of the 1960’s while growing up in Prairie du Chien.

The author is a retired Senior Technical Fellow and Chief Information Technology Architect at a Fortune 100 company specializing in advanced technologies and large system integration.

PDC 1

The first rendering (photo left) is of the Panka Building, Bohonek Bakery, Metro Theater, Jim’s Bar, and McWilliams Optometrists. The web-site describes in detail how the model was rendered.

The first step in the virtual downtown 1960’s Prairie du Chien was developing a map  of Blackhawk Avenue showing the locations of each building. The author is still seeking photos of buildings.

The latest creation is Farrell Drug Store on the corner of of Minnesota and Blackhawk Avenue.  They had a counter where you could get ice cream.  The owner of the store was the Mayor of PDC

Hiding in Plain Sight*

Of all the hidden treasures which have been shared in past Mississippi River Sculpture Park newsletters, the Cal Peters murals located in the Prairie du Chien City Hall are the most hidden of all. (See photos)

In 1935 Peters was one of several artists at the Stout Institute in Menominee, Wisconsin (now a State university) employed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). While there, he painted murals and about a dozen portraits illustrating the history of Prairie du Chien and the surrounding area In 1936, again funded by the WPA. From 1938-1948 he continued his work for the WPA in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin,where he created numerous murals and dioramas. His work was originally displayed in a local museum located in the Dousman stable that's still on the Villa Louis property – and. unfortunately, in the flood plain on St. Feriole island. n 1949 he left Prairie du Chien to become the Curator of History at the Los Angeles County Museum.

The Mississippi River succeeded in wrecking the dioramas, but the paintings were hung high on the stable walls. After the 2001 flood, however, the museum was closed and the paintings were moved to City Hall, where they are scattered throughout the building.

Common Council meetings are televised locally; anyone who watches will always see Marquette and Joliet canoeing toward the mayor, city administrator and some council members. Chief Blackhawk and The Prophet surrender to Zachary Taylor behind other city officials.

The most hidden of the paintings was probably hung well out of sight because of its subject matter, the Gagnier massacre that took place where the Wal-Mart parking lot is now located.

==============================

*Article from September 2013, Touch History: Mississippi River Sculpture Park Newsletter (1)

Bluff Top Tombs

CollagesOne of the more interesting stories about Prairie du Chien is about  Michael Brisbois, a fur trader,  whose tomb is located high atop  a bluff north of the city. According to the story,  he wanted to be buried on top of the bluff so he could look down eternally on his rival, Joseph Rolette, also a fur trader, who is buried in the Old French Cemetery.

in those days, nothing prevented one from being laid to rest on private property in rural areas. Today, the tomb  is only accessible through private land. The tomb is marked by a weather beaten cross which can be seen from the valley below.

These are the names of those who are with Michel Brisbois on the bluff:
Brisbois, Michael died Apr;1,1837,age 77 years,6 months
B. W. Oct;4,1808---June 15,1885
Therese Apr; 27,1815---July 23,1849,wife of B. W.

Tilmont, J. A. May 25,1816---Feb;26,1872,born in Brussels

Bernard (B. W) was Michael Brisbois son.  Therese was Michael Brisbois Wife. Joseph A. (J. A. ) Tilmont was a druggist. He was not related to the Brisbois family and it is unknown why he is buried on the bluff.

Michel [aka Michael] was born in Val-Maska, Quebec, Canada, in 1759. He attended school in Quebec. Soon turning to the fur trade, he worked out of DSC_0045Mackinac (1778), and in 1781 he moved his operations to Prairie du Chien where, with other French Canadian traders, he founded the first permanent white settlement. Although sympathizing with the British in the struggle for control of the Northwest Territory, he accepted a commission in the Illinois Territorial Militia (1809). During the War of 1812, he furnished supplies to both the American and British forces but maintained a pro-British attitude. Arrested for treason at the close of the war, he was sent to St. Louis for trial but was acquitted. He was appointed associate justice for Crawford County by Governor Cass of Michigan Territory (1819), and thereafter held various local offices in the Prairie du Chien area. In 1785 Michel married a Winnebago woman (reputedly the illegitimate daughter of Charles Gautier de Verville) and had three Metis children: Angellic, Michel and Antoine. She lived with her Winnebago relatives. Michel's second marriage on August 8, 1796, was in Mackinaw City, Michigan, to Domitelle (Madelaine) Gautier de Verville, legitimate daughter of Charles Gautier de Verville. To Michel and his second wife, a son Bernard Walter Brisbois was born in Prairie du Chien in 1808. Michel died in Prairie du Chien in June, 1837. (1)

 

=================

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Brisbois

Erdenberger House

old cabin 2The two story log cabin, standing at 113 Villa Louis Road on St, Feriole Island, in Prairie du Chien WI, is known as the Charles and Minnie Erdenberger home and then known as William and Esther Obmascher home.(1) It is believed to be constructed by Chas Erdenberger in 1859.

Erdenberger left his wife, Wilhelmina Fritsche,  for Caroline Schultz (who was married at the time to William Snyder). Chas went back to Pennsylvania, where he changed his last name to Morganroth. (2)

When the houses were cleared from St. Feiole Island, the original house looked like the photo on the right. 10351908_10202827744283427_1158072999495428051_n The house picture is from the 4th ward relocation in the late 1960s.

A Fall Visit to the The Mississippi River Sculpture Park – *

All over the world the Mississippi River is introduced to countless school children as one of the most important features of our continent. How better can we learn than to actually see and touch these bronze people from out of the pages of our history?
It is an experience not to be forgotten to stand by the great warrior Black Hawk or lie down beside the resting Voyageur.
Dr. Beaumont and his son Israel will not be forgotten by children who touch the frog in his hands. Victoria Victorious adds her poetry to the statue of the Victorian Lady, and Emma Big Bear will always remind us of times past merging with times present.
As each new figure is introduced into the park people will return to have their pictures taken with these characters from our past. Families will remember their heritage as they stroll among the statues. Stories will be written about the lives of these bronze people and teach others about them.
Visitors may learn about the making of bronze sculpture and gain appreciation for the expression of fine art.(1)
Fascinating history and towering rugged bluffs make this Prairie du Chien and St Feriole Island a memorable visit. Prairie du Chien, located four hours south of Minneapolis and two hours west of Madison, is nestled in a pristine landscape of rural hills and valleys.
The driftless area boasts scores of rocky bluffs and winding trails. Prairie du Chien lies at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers.
Anytime a a great time to visit Prairie du Chien, and The Mississippi River Sculpture Park. Fall is a spectacular time. Make the Mississippi River Sculpture Park one of your places as a “Must See”.
--(1)*Florence Bird

The Black Hawk Tree*

220px-Black_Hawk_TreeThe Black Hawk Tree, or Black Hawk's Tree, was a cottonwood tree located in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, United States. Local legend held that Sauk leader Black Hawk used it to elude his pursuers, though there are differing details and versions of the story.  (Photo - Left - 1915 postcard of the Black Hawk Tree)
In one version of the tale, the tree was said to have been used by Black Hawk during the 1790s to evade capture from troops stationed at Fort Crawford.Black Hawk would later became famous for his role in leading a band of Sauk and Fox, known as the British Band, back into Illinois in violation of several disputed treaties. The event triggered the Black Hawk War of 1832.
Another version of the story held that one day, after his capture following the Black Hawk War, he was being escorted by Lieutenant Jefferson Davis and managed to escape. While eluding his pursuers, it is said, Black Hawk hid himself among the branches of the tree. This version of the story appeared in the LaCrosse Tribune in 1922; even then, the story noted, there were those who pronounced the tale a "myth."
In reality, the local legend is probably untrue. Most historians believe that while Black Hawk was in Prairie du Chien once, it was not until after the decisive battle of the Black Hawk War at the mouth of the Bad Axe River. By this time, in August 1832, Black Hawk had surrendered to the custody of the Ho-Chunk and could not have hidden in the tree.
Regardless of the veracity of the tale, the tree was unique in a settled area that had few trees and a large population utilizing wood for various purposes. A 1906 article in the Prairie du Chien Union debunked the popular tale, outlining the ownership of the property, the writer's interviews with the subjects, and their assertion that the tree was not planted until at least the 1840s. The same article went on to assert the tree had a right to "importance and honorable mention" because of its namesake and the injustices he faced during the 1832 "war of extermination."
Newspaper accounts stated that visitors purposely passed the tree in automobiles and many stopped to view the tree. By 1922, the once two-trunked tree was reduced to one trunk and was in decline.  During a windstorm in the 1920s, the Black Hawk Tree was destroyed, but even after its death the site continued to be marked. The Black Hawk Tree is, without question, the most well-known tree in the Prairie du Chien area and part of local lore. The Black Hawk Tree, like other trees in Wisconsin such as the Hanerville Oak, was so revered that the road was detoured around it to save it from being cut down.
Even after the tree's destruction, and certainty that the tale is not true, the legend persists. When the tree came down, the road it grew from was renamed from Bluff Street to Black Hawk Avenue.A piece of wood, purportedly from the Black Hawk Tree, hangs in the museum at Fort Crawford in Prairie du Chien.

-----------------------------
*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Hawk_Tree

Novel explains unexpected story of the prominent Jane Fisher Rolette Dousman*

Local author Marilyn Leys felt it was a peculiar story that must be told. The life of Jane Fisher Rolette Dousman, the first woman in Wisconsin Territory to file for a divorce, intrigued Leys initially almost three decades ago—many years before she herself would move to Jane’s hometown of Prairie du Chien. Finally, in December of 2013, Leys’ novel, “Madame Jane,” was published.

Just after the War of 1812, 14-year-old Jane married Joseph Rolette, the most powerful, ruthless fur trader in Prairie du Chien, the western outpost of the American Fur Company. After she was separated and widowed by Rolette, Jane married a second wealthy fur trader, Hercules Louis Dousman, who built a mansion that preceded the Villa Louis.

Jane, Rolette, Dousman—nearly all of the characters in Leys’ book actually lived in or visited the Prairie du Chien area, leaving paper trails she would come across nearly 200 years later while researching letters and legal documents for her hardcover.

“[My husband, Ron, and I were] living in Milwaukee and had a vacation cabin in Crawford County. We were here one time looking for things to do and we toured the Villa Louis,” Leys said. “About eight years later, we toured it again. Though the scripts were similar, I remembered what the interpreter told me during our first tour and I knew she had missed some important details.”

Leys’ theory is that the elements left out of the first script were omitted because Jane’s granddaughter, who wrote it, was embarrassed by a certain aspect of her grandmother’s life. Leys also discovered upon her second tour of the mansion a disparity regarding the end of Jane’s marriage to Rolette. A separation was mentioned the second time, and not a divorce.

At the time of her second tour, Leys had taught journalism and creative writing for 16 years. She was also looking for a project to pursue in order to qualify for a sabbatical leave from Milwaukee Public Schools. Thus, work on her novel commenced.

She didn’t do a lot of writing in the beginning, mostly research. She uncovered all the Dousman papers and other family papers and letters that helped tell portions of the stories of Jane’s life. She also got her hands on some European travelogues from the 1820s and 1830s, in which Jane was mentioned; the history of the American Fur Company, which of course provided occupational perspective; and a book owned by a friend whose day job was sewing accurate period costumes.

“After I wrote my first rough draft, I gave it to a friend who was a history teacher to read for historical accuracy,” Leys said. “When I went back to it a second time, I noticed there were portions written from several points of view, so I fixed that in my second draft. Then I put it aside again to interview people.”

Leys interviewed her 15-year-old granddaughter, Meagan, who later died of cancer. (“Madame Jane” is written in her memory.) When Leys told Meagan it was not unusual for girls her age to be married back in Jane’s days, Meagan wondered if Jane would have had a good friend to confide in with her thoughts and secrets. That is how Jane’s friend, Marie, got into the book. She happens to be one of the only fictional characters in the novel.

“I invented her because of things that could’ve happened in the plot,” Leys explained. “I’ve also included some of my own experiences, but that’s the great thing about fiction.”

Another memorable interview Leys landed was with a professor who studied 19th Century American church at Marquette University, Father William Leahy. From their conversations, she learned what a traveling priest would have carried in the post-War of 1812 era. More importantly, he put a finger on why Jane might have backed off on a divorce and settled for a separation.

“I gave him the dates and he asked if they were prominent people in the community at the time,” Leys recalled. “His immediate answer was that those were the days when Father Samuel Mazzuchelli would have been in Prairie du Chien.” Knowing the Rolettes’ wealth connected them to Fr. Mazzuchelli, that seemed to be some of the reason behind the separation settlement.

Expertise gleaned from Prairie du Chien historian  Mary Antoine and additional tours of the properties steered Leys research. In addition, she referenced sketches, photographs and paintings of the main “characters” as well as details from certain letters to create and describe individuals such as Jane, Rolette and Dousman in the book.

“One of the biggest hints I got was in a letter to Hercules Dousman, from his toupee maker. It said, ‘Because you sweat heavily, we’ve dyed your toupee a little darker,’” Leys commented, laughing.
Overall, the research and writing of “Madame Jane” took Leys about 27 years to complete.

During the early drafts of the book, the Leyses moved from Milwaukee to a farm in northeast Crawford County. Twenty years later, they moved into the city of Prairie du Chien, where Marilyn originally found Jane’s unexpected story that propelled her vocation to write the novel.

“To me, it was an isolated story. Who would’ve known I’d end up living here,” Leys said of her inspiration. “There’s a lot of history in this town. It’s one of the reasons I like living here.”

For the full, impressive story of Jane’s life, copies of “Madame Jane” may be purchased at the Fort Crawford Museum in Prairie du Chien, Paper Moon in McGregor, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

================================

* Permission granted by Correne Martin, Courier Press, 9/11/14. http://www.claytoncountyregister.com/articles/2014/09/10/novel-explains-unexpected-story-prominent-jane-fisher-rolette-dousman

What’s in a Name?


name-tagSpelling Complicates Search for Descendants*

            Searching for descendants of Marianne Labuche has gotten me into the most complicated spelling puzzle of my life.  The grandmother who saved her granddaughter's life was French, but by 1830, the officials who were writing down names were English speakers, so they recorded names the way they thought they were hearing them.  The biggest change I know of, so far anyway, was a family named Gauthier then, now known as Gokey.  But the Gokeys aren't anywhere on the Labuche family tree, so that spelling isn't my problem.
            Depending on where a descendant discovered the name of the grandmother, she would be listed in the records as Mary Ann or Marianne, La Buche or La Bouche.  She was listed as Marianne Labuche when local historian Mary Antoine found the name in the records for her children's baptisms and her marriage to Charles Menard, her third husband.
The grandmother had 13 children, and one of those was Registe Gagnier or Francois Regis. The first spelling showed up in a document about that branch of the family tree provided by Alice DuCharme Kirschbaum, a descendant who lives in Prairie du Chien. This ancestor was the father of Louise, the name used on her baptism and her marriage to her first husband, Amable Moreaux, or Louisa, as some other records list her.
The Mississippi River Sculpture Park Board has decided to rely on the spelling as it shows up on the list provided by Mary Antoine as the most accurate. Here are the names of the 13 children of the first generation, plus the 13 children the injured baby brought into the world with her two husbands after she healed and grew up.
Children of Marianne Labuche
1. Married Duchouquette
Francois Duchouquette
Charles Duchouquette
2. Married Claude Gagnier
Helen born circa 1795
Francois Regis born circa 1796
Claude born circa 1798
Melanie born circa 1800
Adelaide born circa 1800
Basil
3. Married Charles Menard 12 May 1817
Julie born 6 April 1805
Margueritte Born 6 April 1805
Charles born 22 February 1807
Louis born 1814
Pascal born about 1815
Children of Marie Louise Gagnier
1. Married Amable Moreaux 5 August 1843
Isadore born 1844
Aurelie born 1846
Caroline born 1847 (Dead by 1855)
Lillian born 1848 (Dead by 1855)
David born 1852
Virginia born 1 September 1853*
Sophia born 1856*
Emilie born 1857
Rosana born 1858*
Esther born 1859*
2. Married Combe Cherrier 1 March 1863
Madeline born 1863
Felix Combe born 1865
Louise born 1869
*In 1870 Federal Census listed with the last name Cherrier
In addition to Francois Regis, we've heard recently from a descendant of his brother Basil. And from the branch that starts with the granddaughter, we've also heard from a descendant of Isadore. If you see a name that sounds familiar, even if the spelling isn't, please let us know at marl@centurytel.net.
--Marilyn Leys

September is Women in Medicine Month

Prairie du Chien is Wisconsin’s second oldest city. But, did you know that Prairie du Chien had the very first woman physician in Wisconsin?
Each September, as part of Women in Medicine Month, the AMA honors influential women physician leaders. This year's theme, "Women in medicine: Innovators and leaders changing health care," reaffirms our commitment to increasing the influence of women physicians and advocating for women's health issues.
Marianne Labuche was, indeed an innovator. She used a flattened silver coin to cover a scalp wound.  What, you never heard or read that account in the latest medical journal?
During September the AMA Women's Physician Section (WPS) also honors physicians who have offered their time, wisdom and support to advance women in medicine.
Marianne Labuche, known to her patients as “Aunt Marianne” either treated most of her patients in her own home or spent days in the patient’s home. “Aunt Marianne’s daughter, Adelaide,  followed in her footsteps as a medical practitioner. She treated and cured a Prairie du Chien logger who was stabbed during a fight the punctured his lungs.  “Aunt Marianne's” Great grandson provided care for the early Gold Rush in California.  That’s inspirational.
“Aunt Marianne”was also noted as a “person of consequence” according to an 1856 pioneer writer who knew her in the nineteenth century(1).  Marianne Labuche was the first non-indigenous medical doctor to practice in Wisconsin (2).  Marianne was born before 1774 in “one of the villages below”(2), possibly in a village across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.  It is likely that the village’s name was Cahokia. Prior to 1720’2 slaves were brought to this village.  Given Mary Ann’s surname it seems that her father, Pierre LaBuche(3), was a French creole from Canada and her mother, Marianne, a slave, from whom she gained her knowledge of the healing art(2).
She had thirteen children by three husbands. And, she was the first person that was sent for by the sick and attended to each one regularly as their physician. Even after the U.S. Army provided a physician at Fort Crawford, civilians preferred “Aunt Marianne” as their doctor.
She also charged her patients for her services for giving them “device and yarb to drink”. Reports indicate that she was not modest at all about her charges. She took her pay in the produce of the area.
Marianne’s talents and her use of “Yarbs and drinks” were put to the test on June 26, 1827, when her baby granddaughter was scalped during an Indian attack. She covered her granddaughter's exposed brain with a silver plate hammered out of a silver coin.  In time, the skin covered the plate. She lived to be eighty years old.(4)
It is our pleasure to share details about an inspirational, person who mentored others to pursue medicine.

Randall Paske, President of the Mississippi River Sculpture Garden
mrsppdc@gmail.com
http://www.statuepark.org

--------------
(1) Great Lakes Creoles: A French-Indian Community on the Northern Borderlands, Lucy Murhpy
(2) French Canadians, Furs, and Indigenous Women in the Making of the Pacific Northwest, Jean Barman
(3) http://boards.ancestry.com/thread.aspx?mv=flat&m=71&p=surnames.gagnier
(4) Odd Wisconsin: Amusing, Perplexing, and Unlikely Stories from Wisconsin’s Past, Erika Janik

Who was Marianne Labuche Menard?

Modern day writers are not quite sure how her name is spelled; Mary Anne, Maryann, Mary Ann, or Marianne. Maybe that’s why her patients just called her “Aunt Mary Anne”.  (Photo right – from Mississippi River Sculpture Park)

The majority of the earliest settlers of PdC were illiterate and had to make a mark on documents after their names spelled by others. 

Those others did not necessarily know how the French names should be spelled, either spelled them phonetically or Anglicized them. However, if Mademoiselle LaBuche lived in a French community and had a French father, the likelihood is that, no matter how others wrote it later, the name would have been intended as "Marianne". There is no "Mary" in French. It is always "Marie". Marianne is the symbol of France.  (5)

James Lockwood first popularized the name of the woman as "Aunt Mary Ann". Lockwood's native language was English and he lived at Prairie, but most of the others there spoke French in the first part of the 19th Century. They wouldn't have said "aunt", either, but "tante".  (6)

“Aunt Mary Anne”was also noted as a “person of consequence” according to an 1856 pioneer writer who knew her in the nineteenth century(1).  Mary Ann Labuche was the first non-indigenous medical doctor to practice in Wisconsin (2).  Mary Ann was born before 1774 in “one of the villages below”(2), possibly in a village across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.  It is likely that the village’s name was Cahokia. Prior to 1720’2 slaves were brought to this village.  Given Mary Ann’s surname it seems that her father, Pierre LaBuche(3), was a French creole from Canada and her mother, Marianne, a slave, from whom she gained her knowledge of the healing art(2).

She had thirteen children by three husbands. And, she was the first person that was sent for by the sick and attended to each one regularly as their physician. Even after the U.S. Army provided a physician at Fort Crawford, civilians preferred “Aunt Mary Anne” as their doctor.

She also charged her patients for her services for giving them “device and yarb to drink”. Reports indicate that she was not modest at all about her charges. She took her pay in the produce of the area. 
Mary Ann’s talents and her use of “Yarbs and drinks” were put to the test on June 26, 1827, when her baby granddaughter was scalped during an Indian attack. She covered her grandaughter’s exposed brain with a silver plate hammered out of a silver dollar.  In time, the skin covered the plate. She lived to be eighty years old.(4)

Mary Ann’s status is indicated by allocating a farm lot in 1820 to a French Canadian man in her life, ‘Charles Menard, for Marianne Labuche Menard his wife”.(2)

“Aunt Mary Anne’s” daughter, Adelaide Limery, followed in her mother’s footsteps as a medical practioneer. (1) Adelaide used roots, barks, berries, and seeds for different ailments. A story goes that when a Prairie du Chien logger was stabbed in a fight that punctured his lungs, the town doctors despaired in curing the logger. Adelaide took the logger home, and with her experience of “yarb and drink” cured him, earning $200 for her efforts.

----------------------------
(1) Great Lakes Creoles: A French-Indian Community on the Northern Borderlands, Lucy Murhpy
(2) French Canadians, Furs, and Indigenous Women in the Making of the Pacific Northwest, Jean Barman
(3) http://boards.ancestry.com/thread.aspx?mv=flat&m=71&p=surnames.gagnier
(4) Odd Wisconsin: Amusing, Perplexing, and Unlikely Stories from Wisconsin’s Past, Erika Janik
(5) Marianne Luban
(6) Early Times and Events in Wisconsin, James Lockwood

The Story of Sculpture: From Clay to Bronze*

The earliest known “lost-wax” castings date from the early dynasties of Egypt, nearly 7,000 years ago, when metal was poured into “investments” of fired clay that had been shaped with the help of wax that was melted, or “lost”. Then, sometime between 4,000 and 3,000 B.C., bronze was discovered, probably by accident, as being a metal that was harder than copper or tin alone. Thus began the era known as the Bronze Age.
Ancient “lost-wax” bronze castings have withstood the centuries, visually telling the tale of past cultures, their religions, and their social structures. For example, Chinese bronzes depicted ceremonial images; Indian and Egyptian castings symbolized deities; Africans cast images of nature; and the Greeks recreated the human form.

Many of these cultures have since grown obsolete, their religions have evolved and societies have changed. Elements of the “lost-wax” process have been refined. Yet today, bronze casting is essentially the same as it was in 2,000 B.C. during the Akkadian period.


Bronze is an alloy of 95% copper, 4% silicon and 1% manganese with traces of other elements such as iron. Silicon bronze has been the bronze of choice for fine art castings since its development in the 1920s. It is corrosion-resistant, strong, resilient, formable and weldable. Also known as "hot-cast" bronze, a fine art "lost-wax" casting of silicon bronze is created through many labor-intensive steps. Read more….

 

----------------------------------------

*Source:http://www.gobronze.org/from.html

Picnic Social with Established Friends and New Friends

Everyone is invited to a picnic social at the Mississippi River Sculpture Park. The city owned park is located on the north end of St. Feriole Island in Prairie du Chien, WI., on Saturday, September 13, 2014 in the Leamy Picnic Shelter.

Artist and sculptor, Florence Bird, is joining us. Florence will be conducting a tour of the historical statues already in the park. She will also reveal the story behind each one. Social hour begins at 3:00 PM. The tour will start around 4:30 PM.
A pot luck picnic will follow the tour. Please bring a dish to pass. Electrical outlets are available for casserole dishes.
The Mississippi River Sculptor Park Board will furnish lemonade, plates, napkins, and plastic-ware.

What’s the Difference between Sculpture and Statue?*

Statue and Sculpture are two words that are often confused due to the similarity in their meanings. Strictly speaking there is some difference between the two words. A statue is a large sculpture of a person or an animal. It is usually made of stone or any other metal like bronze. On the other hand, a sculpture is a work of art, and it is produced by carving stone or wood or any other material for that matter. This is the main difference between statue and sculpture. Thus, statue can be said to be a subset of sculpture.

DomnateSculpture is a piece of art executed with creativity. On the other hand, the element of creativity is generally not found in the making of a statue. A statue can only be a replica, whereas a sculpture can be a replica and can be even a creative production. Sculpture is a fine art, whereas statue is not an aspect of fine art. (Click on image for information)

Thus, it can be said that a sculpture is a unique piece of art, but a statue cannot be a unique piece of art. It is either same or similar to the person or an animal modeled by which it is made. This is an important difference between the two words.

It is important to know that both sculpture and statue differ in terms of their size as well. The size of a statue has to be big or life-size. On the other hand, a sculpture has no dimension. It can be of any dimension. It can be modern in conception too, whereas, a statue cannot have a modern conception in its making.

A statue thus, is very much likely to look like a person, whereas a sculpture is a creation based on pure imagination and creativity. For example, the sculpture of a religious figure need not look exactly like the figure for that matter. It can be an imaginative creation as well. Since mythological characters were never seen by people, the sculptors use their imagination to a great extent to create their images. Thus, images can be found in religious buildings. These images portray religious or mythological characters in an imaginative way.

Another important difference between sculpture and statue is that sculpture can be exhibited in group shows or one-man shows of the creative artists. On the other hand, statues cannot be exhibited in group shows or one-man shows. In fact, statues are meant for celebrations and worship.

Sculpture too is meant for worship based upon its religious significance. Primarily they are meant for visual enjoyment. Statues are not meant for visual enjoyment. A sculptor enjoys more liberty and freedom when compared to a statue maker. This shows that sculpture is a piece meant for appreciation. It appeals definitely to the human mind. It is important to note that statues can be sometimes bigger than life-size.

----------------------------

*Source: http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-statue-and-vs-sculpture/

  Read more: http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-statue-and-vs-sculpture/#ixzz39c67RvkK

Fun and Treasure in Mississippi River Sculpture Park

downloadHidden, within the boundaries of the Mississippi River Sculpture Park is a treasure. The treasure can only be found using a device called a GPS (Global Positioning Satellite Receiver).  The treasure has been found by 421 people.

The treasure is a geocache. Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.

The Description of the Mississippi River Sculpture park

Located on the magnificent and scenic Upper Mississippi River Byway, the Mississippi River Sculpture Park is a hallmark cultural destination of national and international appeal. More than two dozen life size bronze statues are planned for the Park. Four, Black Hawk, Dr. Beaumont and son Israel, Victorian Lady, and Julian Coryer Voyageur are already installed at the time this cache was placed, with more coming each year. As you visit and revisit you will be able to learn the stories and lives of the men and women who shaped the Upper Mississippi River Valley on the land now called Prairie du Chien.
Located in the City of Prairie du Chien adjacent to beautiful Villa Louis on St. Feriole Island (you can drive or walk on to the island) just above the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers in the spectacular Mississippi River Valley, the Sculpture Park is an unparalleled unique destination for year round travelers.
Occasionally, you will be able to catch events typically called “Arts in the Park” including pig roasts and music. Like the park itself, the events are free and open to the public. The Mississippi River Sculpture Park Fund welcomes donations in an effort to continue to find new & planned sculptures, but all are welcome to visit day or night.


For more information about the park including the pictures and descriptions of all of the sculptures please visit the web site (Click here)


This cache is placed with the approval (and encouragement) of the Mississippi River Sculpture Park Fund. You are looking for an instant coffee container taped up to not be so obvious. Be considerate of muggles, since this location can get very busy, and make sure you replace the cache to best keep it from sight. Otherwise, feel free to check out the park and enjoy.

More information about Geocaching

200 Year-Old Battlefield *

4-0db64bb9b0When you're standing in the Sculpture Park, the Villa Louis is not a hidden treasure, but this year, several events will be taking place on the grounds of the historical site/former battlefield that's just west of the Park.

On Saturday, July 12 and Sunday, July 13, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., a walking tour on the island will cover the land at the center of the Battle of Prairie du Chien.

Each tour will include a stop at the planned archaeological dig taking place on the lawn of Villa Louis that will be searching for the remains of Fort Shelby and Old Fort Crawford.

As part of the commemoration of the Battle of 1812 that took place on the island 200 years ago, the Roseville Community Band will play a mix of music from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., before the fireworks go off over the river.

For the last 25 years, on the anniversary of the Battle of Prairie du Chien, re-enactors have camped on the island and assembled on the battlefield. This year's battle will be the biggest, taking place on. Canadians will be coming down to take part as the Canadian voyageur militia. Other re-enactors will become American infantrymen and American Indians in the battle. Among the 150 to 200 re-enactors, there will also be non-combatants – women and cooks.

Due to a change in rules about how much is charged participants, this will be the last year of the battle on the grounds of the Villa Louis. The concert and fireworks on are free. To get more information about the admission fees for the other events, go to the Villa Louis website.

-------------------

Source: Mississippi River Sculpture Park July 2014 Newsletter

Mississippi Flood Update**

 


            downloadOn Tuesday, July 8, most of the roads on St. Feriole Island were closed, including the road to the front entrance of the Sculpture Park.  A temporary swimming pool blocked the back entrance to MRSP. 
            The north/south road closest to the Mississippi was open to traffic in both directions, although ordinarily it is a one-way street.  However, according to the Villa Louis bookstore manager, none of the events scheduled for the next two weekends and highlighted in the last "Hidden Treasures" have been canceled or will be canceled unless more heavy rains cause additional flooding.              

            On Saturday, July 12 and Sunday, July 13, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., a walking tour on the island will cover the land at the center of the Battle of Prairie du Chien. Each tour will include a stop at the planned archaeological dig taking place on the lawn of Villa Louis that will be searching for the remains of Fort Shelby and Old Fort Crawford.

            As part of the commemoration of the Battle of 1812 that took place on the island 200 years ago, the Roseville Community Band will play a mix of music from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday night, before the fireworks go off over the river.

For the last 25 years, on the anniversary of the Battle of Prairie du Chien, re-enactors have camped on the island and assembled on the battlefield. This year's battle will be the biggest, taking place on Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20. Canadians will be coming down to take part as the Canadian voyageur militia. Other re-enactors will become American infantrymen and American Indians in the battle. Among the 150 to 200 re-enactors, there will also be non-combatants - women and cooks.

The concert and fireworks on July 12 are free.  To get more information about the admission fees for the other events, go to the Villa Louis website.

----------------------

**Update from Mailing list for Mississippi River Sculpture park.

Prairie du Chien Fourth Graders Enjoyed The Twilight of the Living Statues


Fourth graders attending The Twilight of the Living States on May 4, 2014, were asked what they thought of the event. Below you will find a few of their responses.
What was your favorite part of the MRSP and why?
  • Jacob-Dr. Beaumont because he was a self-taught doctor. I learned he helped with a bad wound
  • Janet-The Voyager because his performance was outstanding. I learned how rich in history this area is.
  • Domonic-Marianne Labuche because she helped a baby survive with a hole in her head. I learned I could be related to her.
  • Zoey-I really liked the Mound Builder's presentation. I learned what things could be found in a mound.
  • Sophia-My favorite part were the three Dousman Daughters because they asked me questions. I learned that the Dousman family didn't have electricity, so when we run out of power during a storm I will think of their family.
  • Audrey- I liked the Mastodon Hunter because it was interesting to learn about what they used spearheads for. I learned that if we always keep our eyes open especially after a heavy rain, we may find many historical treasures.
  • Brittany-My favorite part was the Victorian Lady because she was nice and looked so much like her statue. I learned that Victorian women did not show much skin in the older days.
  • Justin-My favorite was The Riverboat Captain because his song told part of his story. I learned they carried all kinds of stuff on their boats up and down the river.
  • Myah-My favorite was the British Redcoat because I had learned about them in school and now I got to see one up close. I learned that red is not a good color for a soldier to wear because he can be seen easier and then shot at more often.
  • Jesse-my favorite was Emma Big Bear because she was so nice. I learned how the Indians lived and how they had to hunt to survive.
  • Jon-My favorite was Chief Blackhawk because I liked how he acted. I learned how he was involved in the battle of Bad Axe and I liked his stick.
  • Sara-I liked Father Mazzuchelli because he got St. Gabriels church built. I learned that he was a good and helpful man.

    Fourth Graders were also asked why they thought the park was important to our community and why they think everyone should visit
  • to tell us of our history
  • it's important to know the history of our area
  • the history; lots of history of PdC
  • it's important to know about the past and I think people should come and see this place because it is so cool
  • gives us more info what PdC was like in the past
  • you should visit because you can learn lots of things you might not have known
  • it will enrich the historical informational result of our community
  • because it's a nice place!
  • because it has much information about history and past things. It also has beautiful statues of the amazing people who have done so much in PdC and around the world
  • everyone should visit so they can talk to "alive" history
  • because it is exciting to see what is already here and what will be coming. I can't wait!

When Sculptures Talk– mwnews – Dave Collins Video*

Sculpture_BlackhawkPrairie du Chien, WI - Something special happens when people channel a statue, history comes flooding back in a way that a book can’t convey. A person in costume taking on the persona of a historical figure, telling verbally what it was like for them at that point in history makes it real. Humans are story tellers. We empathize with someone when we meet person to person. The sculpture park in Prairie du Chien on St. Feriole Island had a group of volunteers bring the park’s sculptures of historical figures to life. See video highlights (HD - watch full screen). mwnews.net 

Nearly an estimated 125 people strolled through the Mississippi River Sculpture Park to listen and ask questions of statues come to life.   The event marked the official kickoff of a major fund raising campaign to bring to life the sixth bronze sculpture– Marianne Labuche.

Five life sized sculptures: Black Hawk, Dr. Beaumont and son Israel, Victorian Lady, Julian Coryer - Voyageur, and Emma Big Bear are already installed.

The statues that came to life were:

  • Emma Big Bear
  • Riverboat Captain
  • Marianne Labuche
  • Mastodon Hunter
  • Victorian Lady
  • British Redcoat
  • Chief Blackhawk
  • An archaeologist
  • Father Jacques Marquette
  • Dousman Daughters

The event also marked the introduction of Friends of the Mississippi River Sculpture Park.  Becoming a Friend is a great way to get your family involved and to do as much or as little as you'd like. Additional information can be found here.

***

HD Video by mwnews – Dave Collins

Photo (by Dave Collins): Todd Crotty portraying Chief Blackhawk.

Twilight of the Living Statues

 

Nearly an estimated 125 people strolled through the Mississippi River Sculpture Park to listen and ask questions of statues come to life.   The event marked the official kickoff of a major fund raising campaign to bring to life the sixth bronze sculpture– Marianne Labuche.

The event also marked the introduction of Friends of the Mississippi River Sculpture Park.  Becoming a Friend is a great way to get your family involved and to do as much or as little as you'd like. Additional information can be found here.

The photo, left, shows a small scale model of Marianne Labuche, called a maquette. The maquette stands about 15 inches and is cast in bronze.

Marianne Labuche was a local healer known as “Aunt Mary Ann” by her faithful followers in the early 1800s. Marianne Labuche was the first person to heal the sick in Wisconsin. Her patients called her "Aunt Mary Ann".  Labuche came up the Mississippi River about 1790.  She filled a crucial need in the Wisconsin frontier with her knowledge of herbs, midwifery, and Native American and folk medicine. Until a fort was erected in Prairie du Chien, 1816, and a surgeon arrived, she attended the sick and attended to them as a physician, and charged fees.

After the Fort, she continued to practice among the people of Prairie du Chien. Her talents were put to the test on June 26, 1827, when her baby granddaughter was critically injured during an Indian attack. Labuche covered the exposed brain with a silver plate over which the skin healed. The little girls lived to be eighty years old. An online story can be read here.

Five life sized sculptures: Black Hawk, Dr. Beaumont and son Israel, Victorian Lady, Julian Coryer - Voyageur, and Emma Big Bear are already installed.

The statues that came to life were:

  • Emma Big Bear
  • Riverboat Captain
  • Marianne Labuche
  • Mastodon Hunter
  • Victorian Lady
  • British Redcoat
  • Chief Blackhawk
  • An archaeologist
  • Father Jacques Marquette
  • Dousman Daughters

 

Additional Photos of the event can be viewed here.

Living Statues–May 4, 2014

unnamed  If the rain doesn't stick around on May 4, some of the statues, present and future, will join visitors at the Mississippi River Sculpture Park, from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.  If rain shows up on Sunday, May 4, Twilight of the Living Statues (TOLS) will be postponed until Saturday, May 10.
     Last year, as this photo shows, three statues chatted with a few of the many visitors to the Twilight of the Living Statues while Dr. Beaumont and his son rested next to their bronze images.
Which statues will show up this year?
  • Emma Big Bear....Chloe Lorenz
  • Riverboat Captain....Mike McCoy
  • Marianne Labuche....Alice Kirschbaum
  • Mastodon Hunter....Mike Valley
  • Victorian Lady....Janet Finn
  • British Redcoat...Robert Carlson
  • Chief Blackhawk.....Todd Crotty
  • Mound builder...Dennis Kirschbaum
  • Marquette and Joliet....Ethan Swiggum and Owen Feye
  • Dousman Daughters...Diamond Iverson
  • Another Dousman daughter and other living statues might surprise us too.  If the rain date is the right date, we'll send another update.

Twilight of the Living Statues

PhotoTwilight of the Living Statues is a FREE event,  open to all families. It  will be held on Sunday, May 4, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Mississippi River Sculpture Park. The Mississippi Sculpture Park is located across the street from the Villa Louis mansion. Visitors are encouraged to get into the “spirit” and come dressed as their favorite historical figure or persona. Visitors are invited to bring their own snacks and beverages. 

The Sculpture Park is where fine art brings history to life.  Life-sized bronze figures from the pages of history and prehistory gather together around a fire-ring, as if meeting for a present day rendezvous. Already installed are: Chief Blackhawk, Dr. Beaumont and son Israel, Victorian Lady, The Voyageur, and Emma Big Bear.
Visitors to this year’s event will listen to vignettes presented by costumed local high school students and area talent who have been working with Luana Stiemke,  PdC Parks and Recreation drama teacher and music teacher for St. Gabriels’ School.   Each “living statue” will tell their story of how their life made an impact on the history of southwest Wisconsin and northeast Iowa.
Visitors will also listen to live music in the background while exploring the new addition of the Leamy Shelter as well as the newly developing Trees of the Visiting Presidents  being installed north of the Sculpture Park.
The “Fun-Raising” Follies event, held in January in the Little Theater at the Prairie du Chien High School, “kicked off” our 2014 fund-raising efforts to “bring to life” Marianne Labuche (pronounced “La-BOOSH”), Wisconsin’s first doctor. 
Marianne Labuche was a local healer known as “Aunt Mary Ann” by her faithful followers in the early 1800s. Marianne Labuche used a medallion, about the same size as the token given to each participating fourth grader, to save a child’s life from a scalping attack. Labuche’s living statue will be roaming around during the event telling tales about her life and work.
Visitors' generous donations will be gladly accepted to help continue the task of bringing Marianne Labuche's bronze life-sized statue to a permanent home in the park

Bluffview 4th grade children are strongly encouraged to attend the event with their families.  Each year the fourth graders are required to do a report on historical figures as part of their curriculum.  Cindy Hertrampf, a retired teacher from the area (who also serves on the Sculpture Park event committee) and teacher Mary Gasser created an opportunity for all 4th grade students to learn more information for his/her required class report.
Each fourth grader attending will receive a special token with historical significance. On the Monday after the event, those students with tokens will be invited to fill out a three-question survey reflecting on their experiences at the Mississippi River Sculpture Park event. Some of those wonderful 4th grade “insights” from the upcoming surveys are planning to be published in an upcoming Courier Press issue.
Should Sunday, May 4th prove to be too rainy for this outdoor event, the rain date will be Saturday, May 10th (the day before Mother’s Day). For more information, contact Sculpture Park board president Rogeta Halvorson at RAHalvorson@alpinecom.net or 563-880-9190.



Become a Friend of Sculpture Park

friends-epplYour participation is welcome in the Friends of the Sculpture Park organization. It's a great way to get your family involved and to do as much or as little as you'd like. Here are some more advantages available only to dues-paying members of the Friends:
  • discounts on future paid events and merchandise
  • thank-you picnic for members only
  • meet the artist special event
  • special announcements
  • free guided tour of the garden by appointment at marl@centurytel.net
Other advantages will be announced in the future.
Dues for Friends of the Sculpture Park are just $20 a year.
There sre two(2) ways to become a member

Choice 1
Print out PDF (Click Here)
Make out a check to the Mississippi River Sculpture Park with "Friend of the Sculpture Park" on the memo line and send it to
Mississippi River Sculpture Park
PO Box 395
Prairie du Chien, WI 53821

Choice 2
Use a credit card and pay online (Click here)

Make a Donation

Anyone who wishes to contribute to the development of the Mississippi River Sculpture Park at Prairie du Chien may make a tax deductible donation in any amount.
Donations can be by check or credit card. Please make check out to:
Mississippi River Sculpture Park. Each check should be marked on the bottom for Mississippi River Sculpture Park and should be mailed to:
Mississippi River Sculpture Park
PO Box 395
Prairie du Chien, WI 53821

You can also make a donation by credit card. We suggest a minimum donation of $50.00
Donations will be acknowledged with a thank you note and tax deductible statement for your tax purposes.
Donations of $100, $200, $300 & $500 can have an appropriate size inscription brick, inscribed with some meaningful text (subject to strict criteria for each brick size). See the "Inscription Brick segment" of this website.
Bronze Plaque
In addition, major contributors ($5,000 or more) will be honored with their name in bronze on a plaque at the site of the sculpture park.
Sponsor a Sculpture
Donors who wish to sponsor an individual piece of sculpture (approx $95,000) will have their name inscribed in bronze on the sculpture and will receive a bronze scale model of that sculpture.
Sponsor a group of Sculptures
If an individual or group wishes to underwrite a whole group of figures for the sculpture park (approx $500,000 includes 5 statues and landscaping) arrangements will be made for a public dedication ceremony and a permanent bronze marker with the donor's name will be installed at the site of the sculpture park.


For more information regarding tax exempt donations please contact:
Dale Klemme dklemme@developmentplanning.net
Community Development Alternatives
608-326-7333

Brick Store

concert3
A unique gift for that someone who is hard to buy for at the holiday season, or the celebration of the life of someone who has passed. Also, the celebration of an anniversary or in honor of your children or grandchildren - you may wish to make a contribution via an inscription brick.

Click here for The Brick Store Form

Creating a Bronze Sculpture

Sculptor’s Corner – bronze casting It has been suggested that there may be a way to lower the cost of making the life size bronze statues for the Mississippi River Sculpture Park. They are very expensive ranging from $75,000.00 to over $100,000.00 each. I thought it might be helpful to talk about the process that leads to the cost of each statue:
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. Following is a brief outline of the work involved (not including the years of ongoing historical research):

  1. Artist modeling of the original figure about ¼ life size. This is made with fine plasteline clay over sculptor’s armature wire, using special modeling tools.
  2. Production mold made at the art foundry.A special rubber mold, backed by plaster, of the original artist’s model.
  3. Hard copy taken from the production mold.this is usually plaster or resin. It may also be wax for casting a small bronze sculpture.
  4. Shipping hard copy to the enlarging company.currently in California)
  5. Enlarging the figure. The hard copy of the small figure is scanned and enlarged to life size by computer. The enlarged figure is laser cut out of extruded Styrofoam.
  6. Life size Styrofoam figure is cut in pieces, packed and shipped back to the artist’s studio.
  7. The artist reassembles the life size foam figure and covers it with plasteline clay for the final sculpting process.
  8. Final sculpting process by the artist. This is when the detailing of the portrait and character of the figure is completed.
  9. Final life size clay model is returned to the foundry.
  10. At the foundry the figure is sectioned off for piece molds.
  11. Each piece mold is painted inside with sculpture wax. There is a special wax for this purpose. The final wax impression is about ¾ inch thick.
  12. The wax impression is removed from each of the piece molds and attached to wax stilts called sprues. The sprues, in turn, are attached to a baseboard.
  13. Wax pieces on sprues are dipped in ceramic slurry. The wax is dipped and dried several times to ensure an even coating.
  14. Slurry coated wax pieces are placed into a kiln. The wax melts leaving the ceramic mold hollow.
  15. Bronze is melted in a crucible in the furnace.The bronze is melted to about 2,100 degrees f. while the wax is being melted in the kiln.
  16. The clean hot ceramic molds are removed from the kiln and placed upside down in a bed of sand.
  17. The molten bronze is poured into the ceramic molds. The crucible is lifted by special tongs and placed into the pouring bar.
  18. The crucible containing the melted bronze is lifted and carried to the ceramic molds in the bed of sand.
  19. Melted bronze is poured into the ceramic molds.
  20. Ceramic molds are removed from the bronze pieces.
  21. Bronze pieces are sand blasted to remove fire scale.
  22. Bronze pieces are trimmed and welded together to assemble the figure.
  23. The bronze figure is polished and detailed.
  24. Patina is applied to the finished figure.This is a spray with different chemicals used for color.
  25. The finished sculpture is shipped to the Mississippi River Sculpture Park.
This is a complicated process involving several people working many hours, days and weeks. There are also the costs of materials and tools, utilities and overhead. Bronze, for instance, goes up in cost every year. There is the added cost of shipping and insurance and the bronze nameplate installed by the statue. I use Vanguard Sculpture services in Milwaukee. I find it is the best art bronze foundry in the area.
To pay for the sculptures it takes many people contributing small amounts and/or one person or organization contributing one large amount. Most often it is a combination of both of these. The whole process of making and installing a statue takes money, time and effort by many people. It is good to remember that they will stand in place for many generations to come.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the making of these statues.
Florence Bird, Artist
608-588-2887
florence@florencebird.com





"Aunt Marianne" Labuche

Currently, The Mississippi River Sculpture Park is raising funds for a bronze statue of "Aunt Marianne" Labuche. Fundraising is led by 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteers of Mississippi River Sculpture Park.

Step 1: Small-scale bronze  $6,915- 100% Raised

Step 2: Life-sized Enlarging artwork   $30,859 $1218 Raised

Step 3: Artwork and Molds $55,481

Step 4: Final Bronze Casting $82,481

Mariann Labuche, was the first person to heal the sick in Wisconsin(1). Her patients called her "Aunt Marianne". Labuche came up the Mississippi River about 1790.
She married three times and was the mother of fourteen children.
She filled a crucial need in the Wiscosnin frontier with her knowledge of herbs, midwifery, and Native American and folk medicine.
Until a fort was erected in Prairie du Chien, 1816, and a surgeon arrived, she attended the sick and attended to them as a physician, and charged fees.
After the Fort, she continued to practice among the people of Prairie du Chien. Her talents were put to the test on June 26, 1827, when her baby granddaughter was critically injured during an Indian attack. Labuche covered the exposed brain with a silver plate over which the skin healed. The little girls lived to be eighty years old.



(1) Odd Wisconsin: Amusing, Perplexing, and Unlikely Stories from Wisconsin's Past (http://goo.gl/ynO2Dh) 

Sculptor's Corner

by Florence Bird
---------------------
When I am modeling a portrait I like to think of the whole person and how all parts work together. There is a certain stance or gesture which portrays how the legs and arms and body and head all work together to express a personality. Then there are the details of the face and hands, eyebrows, nose, mouth fingers and wrists. Each part is important in relationship to the other parts. All of the parts working together express a whole person. Next time you are looking in the mirror notice how your whole expression changes when you move your eyebrows or mouth or eyes.

When I think of the individual historical figures in the Mississippi River Sculpture Park in Prairie du Chien, I think of them as parts of one whole community portrait. Each figure has integrity as an individual portrait. As other figures are added to the park, each one becomes more than an individual. Each one is in relationship to the other figures and to the central firecircle. An unspoken dialog takes place between the figures. Imagine Victorian Lady in relationship to Black Hawk or Julian Coryer, Voyageur., or Emma Big Bear in relationship to Dr. Beaumont.

As more and more figures come to the park, the dialog between them becomes more complex with more possibilities, just as when more and more people from different places and backgrounds come into a community. The community of Prairie du Chien and the confluence region is unique in its complexity. People with different backgrounds and places of origin have been coming here for millennia. This community history is emerging as a portrait of a crossroads of where people from all corners of the world meet and have been meeting forever.

Each individual historical figure is important individually as well as being a part of the whole story. Just as the portrait of Aunt Marianne Labuche and her grandbaby tell about their personalities and relationship to one another, their addition to the Sculpture Park will help to define the whole story of Prairie du Chien. I look forward to having them in place among the other characters.

Florence Bird - Sculptor

Receiving the inspiration for the sculptures, putting a vision together with my life training as a sculptor, interest in history and ancient lives has collaborated to make the creation of The Mississippi River Sculpture Park an amazing process!
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.
Putting this all together to manifest in the form of life size bronze sculptures is beyond my wildest dreams. It really is happening! The adventure is boundless as more people become involved in telling their stories, assisting with the sculptures, landscaping the park grounds, spreading the word about the park and sponsoring individual sculptures.
I shall never find words adequate enough to describe what is happening in the unfolding of this vision. Truly, I am privileged to be the artist for this project. I look forward to the journey that will see completion of a life sized chronicle of the past for many futures to enjoy and discover from.
- Florence Bird, Artist
florence@florencebird.com

Florence Bird Studios


Zebulon Montgomery Pike

Zebulon Montgomery Pike, 1779 - 1813 In 1805, Lieutenant Pike and 20 men came from St. Louis to explore the Upper Mississippi River as official representatives of the United States of America. The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 had made most of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers' drainage areas the property of the United States. There is debate about when he might have explored "Pikes Peak" in Colorado and when he was on the Iowa side of the Mississippi on the bluffs at what is now called Pikes Peak State Park. Pictured here as he might have been gazing from St. Feriole Island over to the bluffs across the river to "Pikes Peak", Iowa and in the direction of "Pikes Peak", Colorado.

Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor (1784 - 1850), was known as "old rough and ready". He was an army colonel and the commandant at Ft. Crawford in the 1830s, receiving Black Hawk's surrender at the fort in 1832. Promoted to general during the Florida Seminole uprising, he also distinguished himself in the Mexican War. Consdered a national hero, he was elected the 12th President of the U.S. in 1849, and served for only a year before dying in office.

Minnie Owens

Minnie Owens, 19th C. Minnie Owens (born 1887), performed on the vaudeville circuit with the Kentucky Juvenile Minstrels and was known as Miss Minnie Owens - Wisconsin's Favorite.

Nicholas Perrot

Nicholas Perrot, 18th C. After the French missionaries and explorers opened up the Great Lakes area to trade and settlement, France maintained a military presence there, manning a string of forts with men recruited from France's Canadian territories.

Mound Builder

Mound Builder, 9th to 13th Century Archaeologists continue to discover new earthen mounds along the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers. Effigy Mounds National Monument above Marquette, Iowa preserves and educates us about these mysterious prehistoric mounds and the people who built them. Not too far away from the rivers' confluence there is a rock shelter pictograph of legendary people ancestors of our present day Ho-Chunk. Ho-Chunk elder, Chloris Lowe Sr., has drawn a picture of what one of these figures (possibly Red Horn) would look like as a man of that time. This sculpture is based on that drawing. Chloris Lowe Sr., has drawn a picture of what one of these figures (possibly Red Horn) would look like as a man of that time.

Mississippian

Mississippian, 13th, C. This figure is representative of a Mississippian man as he might have appeared at an early rendezvous at Prairie du Chien, coming from the Cahokia area farther south along the Mississippi River.

Mississippi River Boat Captain

Mississippi River Boat Captain, 20th C. Captain William D. Bowell, Sr., owner of the Padelford Packet Boat Company is seen here at the wheel of a riverboat holding a Mississippi River chart showing the channel at Prairie du Chien. He is one of the two most famous present day Mississippi riverboat captains.

Mastadon Hunter

Mastadon Hunter, Circa 10,000 BC Recent archaeological digs have uncovered the bones of mastadons along with spear points, indicating the presence of ice age hunters and mammals in the Prairie du Chien area.

Louis Joliet

Louis Joliet, 17th C. Joliet was a French Canadian explorer, fur trader (and musician), commissioned by King Louis XIV to explore vast areas of the American frontier for France in 1673. Together with Fr. Jacques Marquette, he "discovered" the Mississippi via the Fox and Wisconsin riverways, travelling from the site of present day Green Bay on Lake Michigan to Prairie du Chien on the Mississippi.

John Lawler

Active during 1857 & 1874, Founder of modern day Prairie du Chien bringing the railroad, the pontoon bridge, St. Mary's and Campion.

Judith and Nina Dousman

The younger daughters of Nina and Hercule Dousman, shown as if they were coming from Villa Louis to join the picnic at the sculpture park.

Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis (1808 - 1889) was a young army lieutenant, a graduate of West Point, stationed at Ft. Crawford. It was Davis who escorted Black Hawk to St. Louis, by river, after his surrender in 1832 at Prairie du Chien. Davis later married Zachary Taylor's daughter, served as a U.S. Senator and was the U.S. Secretary of War under President Pierce before becoming the President of the Confederacy in 1861 during the Civil War.

Father Samuel Mazzuchelli

Father Mazzuchelli, born November 4, 1806 is known in the tristate area for establishing more than 35 parish communities, designing and building more than 24 churches, and founding the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters. John Paul II declared him "Venerable", the first step to saint-hood. Fr. Mazzuchelli's life and example continue to have meaning for people today. His commitment to justices for the oppressed, education, and responsible civic participation are relevant values for our time. Fr. Mazzuchelli was the architect for St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Prairie du Chien.