Lorado Taft 1860-1936
Descendants of Lorado Taft
1 Lorado TAFT b: April 29, 1860 in Peoria Co., IL (appears in 1900 Rockvale Twp., Ogle Co., 1910, 1920 and 1930 Chicago, Cook Co., IL census) d: October 30, 1936 in Chicago, Cook Co., IL
+Ada BARTLETT b: June 22, 1869 in NJ m: February 11, 1896 in Boston, Suffolk Co., MA d: April 29, 1950 in Greensboro, Guilford Co., NC Father: Leavitt Bartlett Mother: Emily Jane Scales
2 Mary TAFT b: February 26, 1897 in Rockvale Twp., Ogle Co., IL d: July 16, 1984 in Greensboro, Guilford Co., NC
2 Emily TAFT b: April 1899 in Rockvale Twp., Ogle Co., IL d: January 29, 1994 in Westchester Co., NY
+Paul Howard DOUGLAS b: March 26, 1892 in Essex Co., MA m: 1931 d: September 24, 1976 in Washington, DC
2 Jessie L. TAFT b: Abt. 1907 in IL
+Roger A. CRANE b: Abt. 1902 in OH
The Blackhawk Statue was created by Lorado Taft, beginning in 1908. Taft at first created smaller studies of what would become the statue. The statue itself was dedicated in 1911. Taft noted at the dedication that the statue seemed to have grown out of the ground. It stands on the ground that was once home to the Eagle’s Nest Art Colony, which Taft founded in 1898. Though never publicized at the time of construction, when funds were exhausted, future Illinois Governor Frank Lowden had stepped in to ensure the completion of Black Hawk was financially possible.
The statue, or “The Eternal Indian”, is located in Lowden State Park which is near the city of Oregon, Illinois. The statue is perched over the Rock River on a 77 foot (23.5 m) bluff overlooking the city.
The statue was planned by Taft and several of his students and associates, at the Art Colony, which is now part of the Taft Campus of Northern Illinois University and is adjacent to Lowden State Park. An original model of the statue is now on permanent display at the art museum of the Discovery Center in Rockford, Illinois. Another model is located at the Oregon Public Library in Oregon, Illinois.
The statue stands 125 feet above the Rock River, though its height only accounts for 48 feet of that. Black Hawk weighs in at 536,770 pounds and is said to be the second largest concrete monolithic statue in the world. It wears a long blanket and stares across the river with folded arms.
With the help of John G. Prasuhn, a young sculptor of the Chicago Art Institute, Lorado Taft created a figure almost 50 feet tall, including a six-foot base. Reinforced with iron rods, the hollow statue is eight inches to three feet thick. The interior is accessible through a door at the base. The outer surface composed of cement, pink granite chips and screenings is three inches thick.
At the dedication of the statue on July 1, 1911, Taft said that in the evenings he and members of the Eagle’s Nest Art Colony walked along the bluff and would often stop at the statue’s location to enjoy the view from the bluff. Contemplation became habitual, arms folded, restful and reverent. Black Hawk came from that contemplative mood and attitude. The 48-foot (15 m) tall monolith, towering over the river, suggests an unconquered spirit through its composition blending Fox, Sac, Sioux and Mohawk cultures. Taft said the statue was inspired by the Sac leader Black Hawk, although it is not a likeness of the chief.
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