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. In 1949 he left Prairie du Chien to become the Curator of History at the Los Angeles County Museum.
After the 2001 flood, however, the museum was closed and the paintings were moved to City Hall, where they are scattered throughout the building. All of his dioramas still exist. Three are on exhibit at Fort Crawford Museum. The rest are stored in the Brisbois House on the Villa property. Fort Crawford is looking at 2 more of the dioramas that can put on exhibit in the future.
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)