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In Travel & Visitors Guide

Someone to look up to: Scots bard Robbie Burns. (PHOTO: Bobby Tanzilo )

In Travel & Visitors Guide

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.

Kosciusko 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
Lake Park

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.

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Talkbacks

OMCreader | Oct. 24, 2006 at 4:38 p.m. (report)

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.

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OMCreader | June 25, 2005 at 11:50 p.m. (report)

mike said: what about paul mokeski and randy breuer? i thought they were notable milwaukee statues, too.

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OMCreader | June 19, 2005 at 11:59 p.m. (report)

Funki said: Little Jimmy Hat!

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OMCreader | June 19, 2005 at 9:41 a.m. (report)

littlejimmy said: Funki- I remember that! That was back when you would eat Dicks bacon! Ah, fresh PORK!

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OMCreader | June 9, 2005 at 8:24 a.m. (report)

littlejimmy said: Hopper- Statues can't talk!

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