Stand-up guys and gals: A guide to some of Milwaukee's statues
While the most famous statue in Wisconsin is probably "Honest Abe," sitting atop Bascom Hall on the UW-Madison campus, waiting -- according to lore -- for that virgin to walk by so he can stand up, Milwaukee has a few sculptural tributes of note, too.
We're talking just statues, not sculpture, not shrines, not still-life artists in the streets. Smaller statues abound, such as the lions on the stairs going to Lake Park Bistro or the children playing in O'Donnell Park in front of the Betty Brinn Children's Museum. For the bigger ones, here are some good places for history buffs, art fans and pigeons to go if they want to catch a selection of people (and ducks, in one case) immortalized in stone, marble or bronze. They include:
Solomon Juneau, Juneau Park
Prospect Avenue at Wells Street
Milwaukee's first mayor, who set a record as the first Milwaukeean to sire seventeen offspring and leave this town to establish a new town, has a park named after him with his own likeness standing in it. One of the city's older statues, it went up in 1887 and maintains an impressive setting: a beautiful vista that overlooks Lake Michigan, the Art Museum, and Veterans Park.
Frederick Von Steuben, Washington Park
2121 N. Sherman Blvd.
Announcing the southern end of Sherman Boulevard, the location of the Washington Park library, and your arrival into Washington Park, the gallant statue of Frederick Von Steuben on horseback presides over the street. A Revolutionary War hero, the German-born Von Steuben (1730-1794) served with George Washington. His statue was dedicated in 1921 and stands as an impressive gateway to the park.
Lincoln Avenue near 10th Street
Dedicated in 1905, General Thaddeus Kosciusko rides atop a horse on his statue, sword pointed into the air. He came from Poland in 1777 and fought for American independence in the Revolutionary War. Upon his application, the commander asked Kosciusko, "What can you do?" His reply: "Try me." He worked his way up to major-general and became an aid to George Washington. In 1794, he returned to Poland to help with their fight for independence, which was eventually lost; he then sought some neutrality by retiring in Switzerland. Having survived battles on two continents and being a prisoner in the Russian army for two years, he was killed in 1817 by a fall from his horse. The Milwaukee statue of him is not alone; statues exist of him in Krakow, Poland and in several American towns and counties named for him.
Brigadier General Erastus B. Wolcott Statue
Sort of tucked away in Lake Park is this statue of Wolcott, who was Wisconsin's Surgeon General during the Civil War. Built in 1920, this statue features Dr. Wolcott on horseback and serves to honor the memory of a man who in his time was known as not only a brilliant doctor, but a virtuous man who would often treat Wisconsin's poor for free.
Robert Burns, Burns Triangle
Between Prospect & Farwell Avenues at Knapp Street
Scotland's best-loved bard, who died 50 years prior to the Milwaukee's founding, was immortalized here in 1909. Donated by Scotsman James Anderson Bryden, the statue is a bronze replica of the original monument in Kilmarnock, Scotland. You can see it while driving up Prospect or down Farwell, between Ogden Avenue and Knapp Street. The triangular area bounded by those streets also bears his name (hence, Burns Triangle.) Still a magnet for poets and people of Scottish descent, a wreath is laid at the statue's base every year on January 25, the anniversary of Burns' birth.
Patrick Cudahy, Sheridan Park
4700 S. Lake Dr., Cudahy
The man whose processed animals made Cudahy famous stands at the east end of Layton Avenue at the main entrance to Sheridan Park, right off Lake Drive. Cudahy won't be alone in his namesake town for long; a new 6-foot bronze statue showing a couple and two children arriving to a new life in America is slated to be erected next year at the old train depot off Kinnickinnic Ave., just off Layton.
Martin Luther King, King Drive Historic District
2745 N. Martin Luther King Dr.
Dr. King stands along and above his namesake street, presiding today over its continuing revitalization. Some feel the location is not befitting of Dr. King, wedged between stores on the side of the street. Suggestions to move the statue to the location around McKinley Avenue, where Old World Third Street becomes Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, have been advanced by Bucketworks and a number of individuals. So stay tuned.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Walker Square
9th Street, a block south of National Avenue
The Catholic patron saint of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe presides over Walkers' Square. Located near the United Community Center right off I-43/94 and its twisting exits to National Avenue, you can find it south of Mineral St. between 9th and 10th.
Mahatma Gandhi, India-America Friendship Park
901 N. 9th St.
Located in MacArthur Square near the Milwaukee County Courthouse, this statue of Gandhi was dedicated in 2002.
Al McGuire, Al McGuire Center
12th Street between Wisconsin and Wells
Presiding over his namesake building just inside its main entrance, the 15-foot bronze statue was dedicated in April, 2004.
Henry Aaron & Robin Yount, Miller Park
Two of the newest statues in Milwaukee salute former Milwaukee Brave and Home Run King Henry "Hank" Aaron and Brewer Hall-of-Famer Robin Yount. They're used as meeting places more than any statues in town and mark the ballpark entrance behind home plate. Dedicated in 2001 to coincide with the ballpark's opening, they each stand about 30 feet high and forever bond these two baseball greats with a great (and patient) baseball city. Closer to Helfaer Field, a statue commemorating the Braves' tenure in Milwaukee illustrates the team's thirteen seasons in town.
The Workers' Monument, Miller Park
By Hank and Robin but facing the main entrance rather than the parking lots, this 12-foot monument serves as a permanent tribute to the hundreds of workers who labored to build Miller Park. The adjacent "Workers Wall" bears the names of everyone who helped turn County Stadium's south parking lot into one of baseball's best venues.
Gertie the Duck and her Ducklings, Downtown Milwaukee Riverwalk
Wisconsin Avenue bridge over the Milwaukee River
The story of "Gertie", the mother duck who lustily defended her eggs during a nesting stay under the Wisconsin Avenue bridge in 1945, holds strong among Milwaukee's older generations. Perhaps the smallest statues in Milwaukee that aren't sold in craft or novelty stores, Gertie and her ducklings are life-sized along the Wisconsin Avenue bridge and along either side of the Riverwalk just north of the bridge. You can even pet them; they're just not very soft.
The Inviting Christ
30th Street and Wisconsin Avenue
Next to the Tripoli Shrine and the stone camels guarding its entrance, Our Savior's Lutheran Church has a 40-ton statue called "The Inviting Christ" above its entrance. A great stop along any architectural tour of Wisconsin Ave.
Ione, Centennial Hall, Milwaukee Public Library
800 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Water nymph Ione weighs in at 3,400 pounds, has lasted 132 years, and once stood as part of the décor in the Wisconsin Theater before it was torn down. After a short stint in a hotel, the nymph earned a place in Centennial Hall in 1987. You can see her in all her marbled glory on your way into the library.
Siddhartha, Mantra Lounge
1905 E. North Ave.
An indoor statue imported direct from Tibet, ancient Buddhist Siddhartha watches as you consume beverages, dance, and perhaps make clumsy passes inside Mantra Lounge.
Divine Servant, Wisconsin Lutheran College
Erected in 2003 to mark the retirement of former Wisconsin Lutheran College president Gary Greenfield, this bronze statue depicts Jesus washing the feet of the Apostle Peter. Greenfield led the college from a two-year institution with part-time faculty and 27 students to a four-year school with regionally-ranked programs, 50 full-time faculty members and over 700 students. Greenfield passed away in 2004.
Alfred Hitchcock, Times Cinema
5906 W. Vliet St.
Sometimes when you enter the Times, you can see his films in the cinema. Every time you enter the Times, you can see his life-sized statue. Whether catching the regular feature or the Friday night Freak Show, you can say "hi" to Alfred and once again get scared when you shower or see a pack of birds.
Along with the ones listed here, Marquette will soon welcome a new statue. A bronze statue of Mother Teresa holding a child will stand 6 feet, 6 inches tall should be installed by next summer. The artist, Gautam Pal, already has one of the works represented in Milwaukee: the Mahatma Gandhi statue next to the Milwaukee County Courthouse we referenced earlier.
A Circus Parade statue has been proposed in various forms for Veterans Park, but none have yet been approved.
By the way, TV Land put up an statue of Andy Griffith in Raleigh, N.C., Bob Newhart in Chicago, Ralph Kramden in New York, and Mary Tyler Moore in Minneapolis. So when will we get our statue of The Fonz?? We're waiting...
Brenda Komater said: Would you please forward me the links for all of the statues in your article. I need good pictures of them for a project that I am working on.
mike said: what about paul mokeski and randy breuer? i thought they were notable milwaukee statues, too.
littlejimmy said: Funki- I remember that! That was back when you would eat Dicks bacon! Ah, fresh PORK!
littlejimmy said: Hopper- Statues can't talk!
Show me the other 4 Talkbacks
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