Sculptor’s Corner, January 2018


by 
Florence Bird Studio, LLC

While looking through my files and references, I realize that it has been many years since the beginnings of the Mississippi River Sculpture Park. Some folks may not remember the original vision. In 2002 I started learning about the history of Prairie du Chien, near the confluence of the Wisconsin and the Mississippi Rivers. From personal stories, archeological records, news articles, books and library research I found that people from all corners of the world had come to this place over time to work, trade and live. I began to realize that this was a place worthy of an important monument.
In order to illustrate the full significance of this place in history, it would be necessary to have many historical figures representing different times. I found that there is new enlarging technology that helps make it possible to translate small clay maquettes into life-size bronze sculpture. This allowed the possibility of making several life-size sculptures for the sculpture park. Previously each sculpture would have had to have been made life-size in clay in the studio and transported to the foundry, a near impossible task. As it is now, we can use the most modern technology along with the most ancient bronze casting techniques so the vision can encompass this whole amazing history. Here is our original Mission Statement:

“To provide unique aesthetic and educational opportunities to experience 12,000 years of history at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers.”

As the MRSP stands now, it is the first chapter of this grand history. As it develops it will become the grand and significant monument as intended.
Following is a list of the historical characters for the sculpture park and their timelines:
Timeline of the MRSP sculptures:

10,000 BCE (last ice age) ~
Mastodon Hunter (1 150)

5,000 BCE to 12,000 CE
Mound Builder (specific to Oneota culture (1,000 CE)

800 CE to 1500 CE
Mississippian (1300 CE)

1600 — 1800 +
Nicholas Perm! (1644 — 1717)
Fr. Jacques Marquette (1637 — 1675)
Louis Jolict (1645 - 1700)
Early Voyageurs I600 — 1800)
Julian Coryer, voyageur (1833 +)
I800 — 1900
Black Hawk (1767 — 1838)
Zebulon Pike (1779 — 1813)
Zachary Taylor (1784 — 1850)
Chief Shin-Ga~Bo- Wassin (1763 - I828)
Dr. Wm Beaumont (1785 — I853)
Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli (1807 — I864)
Jefferson Davis (1808 — I889)
“Aunt” Mary Ann IaBuche (1820 - ?)
British Red Coat(l8l2 -1814 in PdC)
John Lawler (1857 — 1874 active in PdC)
Minnie Owens, the rninstrel player (1887 - ?)
1900 - Present day
Chippewa Elder Woman (1890 + ?)
Victorian Lady (circa 1900)
First Chief Winncshiek (18? - 18? (signed treaty in PdC 1828)
Chief Clayton Winncshiek (Present day)
Judith & Nina Dousman (pictured in 1891)
Emma Big Bear (1869 — I968)
Captain Wm. D. Bowel1(present day)