Outdoor Recreation Historic Sites Art
Lorado Taft, who created the 50-foot statue as a tribute to Native Americans, is said to have thought of the figure one evening as he and other members of the Eagles’ Nest colony stood gazing at the view from the bluffs. According to a story attributed to Taft, he and his colleagues tended to stand with their arms folded over their chests. The pose made him think of the Native Americans who were so reverent of the beauty of nature and who probably had enjoyed the same view.
With the help of John G. Prasuhn, a young sculptor of the Chicago Art Institute, Taft created a figure almost 50 feet tall, including a six-foot base. Reinforced with iron rods, the hollow statue is 8 inches to 3 feet thick. The interior is accessible to park employees through a door at the base. The outer surface composed of cement, pink granite chips and screenings, is three inches thick.
The figure is estimated to weigh 100 tons and is thought to be the second-largest concrete monolithic statue in the world. Although Taft dedicated the statue to Native Americans, it has become commonly associated with Black Hawk.
(photo credit Connor Bolander)