Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cheyenne statue project should include all those people (and creatures) who influenced Cheyenne

Interesting front page article in today's Halloween edition of the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle.

Local gallery owner Harvey Deselms is promoting a project to put bronze statues on every corner of Capitol Avenue between the Historic Depot and the Capitol Building. That's eight blocks times four corners equals 32 statues.

A cowboy is next up, which is no surprise. There are no shortage of cowboy and/or cowboy with bucking bronco statues in Cheyenne. Sure, I guess there's room for a few more cowboys along the street. But this represents only a small part of Cheyenne's heritage.

I like the two new statues proposed for Depot Square. A young woman "dressed in 19th-century garb" leaving the train station and a cowboy on his way into the train station. The titles are, respectively, "A New Beginning" and "Hard to Leave."

But why cowboy-era cowboy and woman? Why not have a World War II G.I. emerging from the station to be greeted by his family? Wonder how many soldiers and sailors and marines and airmen traveled in and out of the depot during the war? Our entire region, from Colorado Springs to Cheyenne and up to Casper, were hugely influenced by war industries. It's often said that many young men who trained in Denver and Cheyenne and Colorado Springs returned here to live after the war. They were drawn by the wide-open spaces and mountains and climate. The Tenth Mountain Division soldiers returned from the war to create the modern ski industry.

I'd love to see oilfield roughnecks and miners and Basque sheepherders represented on the streets of Cheyenne. Native Americans, of course. It is pleasing to note that the renovation plan for the Capitol Building complex will include Esther Hobart Morris and Chief Washakie flanking each other in front of the historic building. We have a Buffalo Soldier in the pocket park outside of F.E. Warren AFB. But we need one on the city's downtown main street.

This is suggested only partly in jest -- what about a guy in a suit carrying a briefcase? Cheyenne is a government town, after all, and government employees outnumber agricultural workers (a.k.a. cowboys) any day of the week. Wyoming soon will add a statue of Governor Stan Hathaway next month to the front of the Hathaway Building. A governor is a bureaucrat -- probably the state's chief bureaucrat -- so it would be appropriate for the Gov statue to be surrounded by his aides and assistants and all the people who make the state work. This is not myth. This is reality.

We should consult the Cheyenne and Arapaho and Lakota tribes who used to inhabit the region before the railroad and horse soldiers arrived. While Wyoming's Chief Washakie is a great addition to the Capitol Complex, he was a Shoshone, a mountain tribe. As far as I know, we have no representation of the many Native American horsemen who inhabited these lands. 

Speaking of the railroads... Irishmen? Scotsmen? Chinese? Local visionary (and fine writer) Lou Madison has proposed a number of sculptures for the city. I especially like his idea of a monumental sculpture for the Cheyenne rail yards which would show workers building the rails that led to the founding of Cheyenne. The city would just be a bump in the road if not for the railroad.

And the highways that bisect our city limits. They are works of art unto themselves. Downtown Cheyenne offers some historic markers dedicated to the Lincoln Highway, and we have a huge Lincoln head at the top of the pass that marks the thoroughfare. But thousands of trucks and cars travel down I-80 and I-25 every day. How about a monument to a trucker on one of the downtown corners? How much money do truckers spend each day at the county's truck stops and restaurants and motels? Perhaps we could commemorate a trucker stopped by a blizzard that closes the Summit? Trucker sits in a booth at a truckstop while waitress serves him coffee and a slice of apple pie. Could call the sculpture: "Long haul trucker parks his ass." Something like that. Maybe "Night owls at the diner?" I think that's already been used.

My father built ICBM missile silos from Kansas to Colorado to Washington State. We should have a representation of that bit of history along Capitol Avenue. In many ways, nukes made Cheyenne. We could have a statue of a missileer at his/her station, or a down-sized version of an MX.

We can't forget our geological history. Cheyenne was once on the fringe of an inland sea. Wouldn't it be great to have a huge ancient crocodile rising from the concrete, trying to snatch its prey? The tourists would love that. Lots of photo opportunities. You could actually put a dinosaur bronze or one of a prehistoric mammal (woolly mammoths, sloths, etc.) on each downtown corner. 

Cowboys are wonderful. That's apart of Cheyenne's heritage. But that's not all there is. Delve into the history and let's come up with a sequence of statues that speak to Cheyenne's interesting and sometimes strange history.

1 comment:

Buffalo Soldier 9 said...

Keep telling that history:

Read the novel, Rescue at Pine Ridge, where Buffalo Bill Cody meets a Buffalo Soldier. A great story of Black military history...the first generation of Buffalo Soldiers. Five stars Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the youtube trailer commercial...and visit the website http://www.rescueatpineridge.com

How do you keep a people down? ‘Never' let them 'know' their history.

The 7th Cavalry got their butts in a sling again after the Little Big Horn Massacre, fourteen years later, the day after the Wounded Knee Massacre. If it wasn't for the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, there would of been a second massacre of the 7th Cavalry.

I know you’ll enjoy the novel. I wrote the story that embodied the Native Americans, Outlaws and African-American/Black soldiers, from the south to the north, in the days of the Native American Wars with the approaching United States of America. This story is about, brutality, compassion, reprisal, bravery, heroism and gallantry. Read the novel, Rescue at Pine Ridge, the story of the rescue of the famed 7th Cavalry by the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers.

The novel was taken from my mini-series movie of the same title, “RaPR” to keep my story alive. Hollywood has had a lot of strikes and doesn’t like telling our stories…its been “his-story” of history all along…until now. The movie so far has attached, Bill Duke directing, Hill Harper, Glynn Turman, James Whitmore Jr. and a host of other major actors in which we are in talks with…see imdb.com at; http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0925633/

When you get a chance, also please visit our Alpha Wolf Production website at; http://www.alphawolfprods.com and see our other productions, like Stagecoach Mary, the first Black Woman to deliver mail for Wells Fargo in Montana, in the 1890's, “spread the word”.

Peace.