WELCOME to the “Hermon A. MacNeil” — Virtual Gallery & Museum !

~ This Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American sculptor of the Beaux Arts School. MacNeil led a generation of sculptors in capturing many fading Native American images and American history in the realism of this classic style.

~ World’s Fairs, statues, public monuments, coins, and buildings across to country. Hot-links (on the lower right) lead to photos & info of works by MacNeil.

~ Hundreds of stories and photos posted here form this virtual MacNeil Gallery of works all across the U.S.A.  New York to New Mexico — Oregon to South Carolina.

~ 2016 marked the 150th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil’s birth on February 27,

Take a Virtual Journey

This website seeks to transport you through miles and years with a few quick clicks of a mouse or keyboard or finger swipes on an iPad.

Perhaps you walk or drive by one of MacNeil's many sculptures daily. Here you can gain awareness of this artist and his works.

For over one hundred years his sculptures have graced our parks, boulevards, and parkways; buildings, memorials, and gardens; campuses, capitols, and civic centers; museums, coinage, and private collections.

Maybe there are some near you!

Search Results for "pony express"

“The Pony Express” heads West into the setting sun. MacNeil loved to study the site and setting for his works so he could place them into their unique Horizon as this dramatic shot highlights.

On first viewing, the sculptures of Hermon MacNeil express amazing beauty and gracefulness.  A second and third viewing reveals MacNeil’s careful inclusion of unique details connected to the subjects, objects and historical periods that he sought to portray in bronze and stone.

In sculpting a befitting monument to the “Pony Express” in 1940, Hermon MacNeil showed his abiding attention to detail.  Studying this “last” public monument reveals a series of actions he completed in preparing and perfecting his final product:

  • He found a suitable “stallion” as his model.
    • The charger he found was a rescued “wild mustang” from the plains of the North Dakota (Teddy Roosevelt country).  The steed was used as a rodeo “bucking bronco” and named after the Mexican outlaw, Poncho Villa.
    • Hermon referred to the animal as “glorious horse flesh”. This was the musculature that he immortalized in bronze. For the last 80 years  it’s been heading West out of downtown Saint Joseph, Missouri, just a few blocks from the Pony Express Station of the 1860’s.
    • The back story of “Poncho Villa” this outlaw mustang from North Dakota by way Madison Square Gardens is a prime example
  • He became friends with a physician nicknamed the “cowboy doctor”.
    • The man was Dr. S. Meredith Strong of Flushing, NY, a neighboring community to College Point where MacNeil lived and had his studio.
    • Dr. Strong was devoted to the preservation of “wild mustangs” from the prairies.
    • Strong was president of the American Rough Riders, “an organization devoted to the preservation of the horse, and especially the native wild pony.”
  • MacNeil studied the history of the Pony Express.
    • He did this by visiting St. Joseph, Missouri where the Pony Express Museum is located and by evaluating the site designated for the monument.
    • He also had Dr. Strong’s interest, knowledge and fervor to instruct him.

Theatrically, MacNeil had his own fascination fueled by attending the “Buffalo Bill Wild West Show” at the Chicago Worlds Fair (Columbian Exposition).  Buffalo Bill Cody included a re-enactment of a Pony Express ride as a regular dramatization during his shows.  He himself claimed to be a rider, though some dispute that assertion.  

  • The photos below show the actual clay model taken from his studio after his death in 1947.  The broken forelegs and head show the wire structure that the clay was modeled on.
  • I took these photos in the archives of the Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute, IN. MacNeil built a wire frame on which he constructed his clay model of the horse.
  • Swope Art Museum has remnants of H. A. MacNeil’s small clay models of larger statues salvaged from his studio and storage after his death.
  • Wire frames were a standard practice for constructing clay statue figures of larger proportions. 
  • FOR EXAMPLE: His Manuelito Statue in Gallup, NM was made in 1895 of cement over a wire frame.  It has been restored. 
  • NOTE: I have yet to visit Gallup and see the restored Manuelito statue.

MacNeil was a natural talent as an artist.  His training helped him perfect those innate skills.  By their nature sculptors must be talented artists.  Those skills start early in life.  They include

  • a visual attention to detail. 
  • Visual imaging and proportions.
  • an ability to capture and reproduce the essence of a object and form. 

From there the  process becomes quite meticulous. Phases involved can be described as including:

Model of a Pony Express saddle similar to Dr. Strong’s collection and what MacNeil depicted on his Monument. (Compare actual photo of MacNeil’s work below:)

  • detailed observation;
  • research;
  • historical accuracy;
  • design and balance;
  • construction;
  • inclusion of details and symbols.

The Long Island Star heralded “Poncho Villa”,  his rescuer, Dr. Strong, and Hermon MacNeil’s mastery of sculptural detail in the following narration:

“Watch Out. Pard!     Dr. Strong acquired Poncho from the rodeo after it broke up in New York, just as he did his last “pet.”  The outlaw put six men in the hospital before the physician was able to gain its confidence after months of patient work.  But even today the pony is a one-man animal.  He is a gentle as a lamb when the doctor is around, but let a stranger come near – if you don’t care what happens to the stranger! 

            Fittingly enough for a horse that modeled for the Pony Express statue, Poncho has red, white and blue markings.  The gun, holster, spurs, belt and other accessories sculptured in the replica are all relics which Dr. Strong brought from New Mexico.”   (From the Long Island Star, Tuesday November 19, 1940)

Details of the mail bags as MacNeil modeled them after Dr. Strong’s authentic Pony Express gear from the 1930’s.

Related posts:

Last Saturday while traveling home to South Dakota, I made an unscheduled stop at Reed Chevrolet in St. Joe, MO.   As I took the exit ramp off I-29 at Frederick Ave., the red light on my Chevy Silverado dash told me that the alternator was failing. 

I was planning to stop at Hazel’s Coffee to get some of our favorite beans to bring home, but I drove a block farther into Reed Chevrolet for emergency repairs.

While waiting for repairs, I met Lou Schreck, sales team member there. He gave me  test drive in a new 2017 Red Silverado. 

We drove downtown as Lou gave me his sales low down on Chevy’s 2017 Silverado line. I drove the very red 2017 that felt like a tall limo. 

Lou Schrenk and “Poncho Villa”, Hermon MacNeil’s model for “THE PONY EXPRESS”

I gave Lou a history of the PONY EXPRESS statue in downtown St. Joe, Missouri and took his picture as MacNeil’s bronze mustang soared above.

Webmaster Dan in St. Joe again for the Ump-teenth time

I enjoyed meeting this friendly Chevy man and exploring the Silverado and St Joe again.  Lou got a snapshot of me also with our Pony Express friends.

For more Pony Express stories that I told to Lou, click on this link:

More PONY EXPRESS

The Reed repair shop got me back on the road to home

(I should have got a pic of the truck too. I swiped this from their website)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Following-up the previous post of April 23, 2013, I offer this fascinating link to a great lecture on the colorful legend of the Pony ExpressAuthor Christopher Corbett  [ CLICK HERE ] spoke about his bookOrphans Preferred: The Twisted Truth and Lasting Legend of the Pony ExpressHis 54 minute YouTube video shares humorous stories of Buffalo Bill, Pony Express, and research findings.   The presentation includes questions from the audience, as well.  

The Pony Express at St Joseph, Missouri.  Dan Leininger, webmaster, has visited it many times as a small boy. Now it is part of his ongoing  research on Hermon MacNeil.

The Pony Express at St Joseph, Missouri. Dan Leininger, webmaster, has visited it many times as a small boy. Now it is part of his ongoing research on Hermon MacNeil.

Hermon MacNeil’s last sculpture was the Pony Express Rider erected in 1940 in Saint Joseph, Missouri.  A skit of the Pony Express was a feature of every show given by Buffalo Bill Cody.  We can thank Buffalo Bill for infecting American History with the Pony Express legend.  He even infected world history with images of the Pony Express.   Hermon MacNeil became captivated by the images of the Native American Indians (Black Pipe and others) in head.  He was first introduced to those visions in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show outside of the front gates of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. After this MacNeil traveled to the Southwestern United States. That experience affected him profoundly.  From then on, he produced sculptures and returned to those images of Native Americans and Indian themes throughout his life. 

In 1890 Buffalo Bill rode his troop around Vatican City for the PopeI never rode with the Pony Express, and neither did Buffalo Bill, though he was the right age to do it in 1860 (He did ride as a courier as a very young boy). However, I almost got a Pony Express ornament for my 1939 LaSalle in 2012 (see below). The statue is MacNeil’s. The LaSalle is mine. (The trailer belongs to Chris Carlsen.)  The location is Saint Joseph, Missouri.  Enough foolishness, already.  Below are more Pony Express images from St. Joe.

PonyLasBELOW IS MORE OF THE LEGEND AS CAPTURED BY HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL

IMG_1082

Details of the mail bags as MacNeil modeled them after Dr Strong's authentic Pony express gear from the 1930's.

Details of the mail bags as MacNeil modeled them after Dr. S. Mededith Strong’s authentic Pony express gear, spurs, saddle, mail bags, from the 1930’s.

 

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Since 1940, MacNeil's "Pony Express" has galloped westward out of Saint Joseph, Missouri, on the 10 day mail run to Sacramento, California.  The horse was modeled in the wild mustang, Pancho Villa.

Since 1940, Hermon A. MacNeil’s “Pony Express” has galloped westward out of Saint Joseph, Missouri, on the 10 day mail run to Sacramento, California. The statue was modeled on the wild mustang, “Pancho Villa”, an outlaw stallion captured on the North Dakota prairie and bucking off rodeo cowboys all the way to Madison Square Garden in NYC.

Pony_Express_Credit to XP-Rider

Pony_Express_Rider outside Harrah’s at Lake Tahoe is a bit different compared to MacNeil’s sculpture. [ Photo Credit to XP-Rider — http://www.xphomestation.com/ ]

The Hermon A MacNeil statue of of the “Pony Express” in downtown St. Joe will point the way as it has daily for 73 years, of “heading west, young man, heading West!”

MacNeil’s model for this work was a wild stallion from North Dakota that ran in the rodeo circuit as a ‘outlaw’ horse named “Poncho Villa.” The untamed bucking bronco put six men in the hospital during his rodeo career.  Dr. S. Meredith Strong acquired the stallion from the rodeo as it was breaking up after its last performance in Madison Square Garden. (Click on “Star” news article below).

While you are in St. Joseph be sure to stop at Patee House Museum (CLICK for photos) and the Pony National Express Museum (CLICK for More).  And see MacNeil’s statue for his muscles of “Poncho Villa” captured in bronze. The statue has lasted much longer than the Pony Express in its 78 week history.  (April 3, 1860 to Oct 24, 1961 ).

The 2013 Re-ride will offer beautiful horse flesh again this year. This 10-day, 24-hour a day, non-stop event by over 600 riders and horses travels over the 1,966 mile route of the Pony Express National Historic Trail from Missouri through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada to California.  (Not “instant messaging”, but an amazing feat of daring by teenage riders like Buffalo Bill Cody.)

The 2013 Annual Re-Ride of the Pony Express Trail conducted by the National Pony Express Association starts in St. Joseph, MO and goes to Sacramento, California, June 17 – 27, 2013.  It is the longest event held annually on a  Historical trail in the nation.  

Hermon MacNeil' "Pony Express" monument is modeled on an actual wild  stallion from North Dakota named "Poncho Villa."

That is Hermon MacNeil seated on the “Pony Express” monument. An actual wild stallion from North Dakota named “Poncho Villa”  was his model for the historic piece. CLICK on Article TO READ & ENLARGE.

The event commemorated the 1860-1861 Central Overland and California Pikes Peak Express Company which carried letters and telegrams for 19 months to prove the Central Route through Salt Lake passable year round. The owners hoped to win a federal mail contract on that route. Pony Express history is preserved in the federally designated Historic Trail, administered by the National Park Service, in museums, Pony Rider monuments, books, and the annual recreations by the NPEA.

Dr. Strong, who tamed the original “Poncho” that MacNeil modeled for his sculpture, was the  president of the American Rough Riders, a organization devoted to the preservation of the American horse, especially the native, wild pony.  The saddle, saddle bags, reins, and mail pouches were all modeled after Dr. Strong’s collection of authentic Pony Express gear.  While Strong managed to gain Poncho’s confidence, the animal remained but a one-man horse. He was gentle as a lamb around Dr Strong, but when a stranger appeared, he became a fierce wild stallion again.  He certainly was of the breed that the Pony Express fostered in their brief 18 month history.

The Re-riders will also carry Commemorative Letters in a Mochila, Pony Express style. The 2013 cachet will be a vignette of Pony Express history in Utah and will be available for purchase by NPEA members, historians, and philatelists. The envelopes will show they were carried by the Pony Express and the first class postage will have a special US Postal service cancellation. Only the number of letters purchased will be carried. Every year Ham Radio plays a very important part of the Re-Ride by providing communications over parts of the trail where communication by other means is not available. This gives those personnel responsible for that part of the Re-Ride information as to where the rider is and if the mail is on time. Communications between Riders and Ride Captains will be provided by amateur radio operators in the states of California, Nevada, Utah, eastern Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas.

Ranked among the most remarkable feats to come out of the 1860 American West, the Pony Express was in service from April 1860 to November 1861. Its primary mission was to deliver mail and news between St. Joseph, Missouri, and San Francisco, California. Hermon MacNeil’s Statue in St. Joseph, Missouri, marks the beginning point of the trail.

Contact Information

Outside of Harrah’s Lake Tahoe
www.xphomestation.com/
(916) 332-8382
15 US Hwy 50
Lake Tahoe, NV 89449AND
Pony Express Home Station
MORE at:

http://www.sierranevadageotourism.org/content/national-pony-express-re-ride/sie96F0793CD88DD4A50

http://www.xphomestation.com/
Established March 1993

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Since 1940, MacNeil's "Pony Express" has galloped westward out of Saint Joseph, Missouri, on the 10 day mail run to Sacramento, California. The horse was modeled on a wild mustang from North Dakota, named "Pancho Villa."

MacNeil modeled the saddle, spurs and rider's accessories after Dr. Strong's collection of authentic western gear .

The bronze “Pony Express” horse and rider galloping out of downtown Saint Joseph, Missouri, since 1940, is Hermon A. MacNeil’s immortalizing of “Pancho Villa.”  The sculptor modeled the monument’s “glorious horse flesh” after an actual “outlaw” wild mustang from the North Dakota prairies, named “Pancho Villa” (after the Mexican outlaw). (See the original 1946 ‘Long Island Star – Journal” story below).

‘Pancho Villa’ put six rodeo cowboys in the hospital before he allowed Dr. S. Meredith Strong, a Flushing physician, to tame and ride him. The ‘cowboy doctor’ (as he was called) bought the animal after its last rodeo performance in Madison Square Garden, New York City.    Originally, “Pancho Villa” was captured from the North Dakota prairie where he ran with a herd of wild horses.

Spurs and saddle detail

Dr. Strong, who died in 1946 (see obituary below), was the National President of the American Rough Riders Association, a group devoted to the preservation of the wild mustangs. He traveled thousands of miles as a lover-of-horse-flesh seeking to preserve this western heritage. He and MacNeil must have had some interesting conversations.  (The newspaper photo below shows Hermon MacNeil seated on the statue).

I am grateful to James E. Haas, (author, researcher, and Hermon-MacNeil-enthusiast) for this resource find. Jim has become this website’s “official research detective” and a true benefactor of history on Hermon A. MacNeil.   Through his detective work over 150 digital sources have been given to me as webmaster. His books on College Point history can be found at his website. CLICK HERE    (http://www.jimhaasbooks.com/).

Hermon MacNeil' "Pony Express" monument is modeled on an actual wild stallion from North Dakota named "Poncho Villa." The man seated on the statue base by the sculptors signature is Hermon MacNeil himself.

In related news the National Pony Express Association will conduct its annual Re-Ride over the 1,966 mile route of the Pony Express National Historic Trail from California, through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas to Missouri, June 12 to 23, 2012.  Like the statue, this annual event preserves this history that Dr. Strong and Hermon MacNeil so loved.

“Giddy-up Poncho”

The "Long Island Star-Journal" published this obituary of Meredith Strong on February 4, 1946. Twenty months later, Hermon MacNeil died as well.

On a rainy day recently I visited MacNeil’s Pony Express statue in Saint Joseph, Missouri. I took numerous photos. After posting about a half a dozen, I realized that I omitted one rather light-hearted composition from that drizzly photo session.  It shows the horse and rider as an over-sized hood ornament on my 1939 LaSalle sedan.

“Lass,” the Webmasters 1939 LaSalle sizes up the 1940 MacNeil Pony Express Statue as possible hood ornament upgrade. Both metal art pieces are in their seventies.

NOTE: No ponies, Express Riders or LaSalles were injured in the making of this picture.  No disrespect for the City of St. Joe, the Pony Express, the people of Missouri, the Cadillac Motor Division of General Motors (manufacturer of LaSalle automobiles from 1923 to 1940), or any other persons (living or deceased) is intended in the making of this picture.  It was just a twitch of the finger  that seemed a good idea at the time (just as posting it on a Wednesday evening at 10PM right now feels like the right thing to do! )

WHAT YOU FIND HERE.

Nearby or far away, there is no ONE place to go and appreciate this wide range of art pieces. Located in cities from east to west coast, found indoors and out, public and hidden, these creations point us toward the history and values in which our lives as Americans have taken root.

Webmaster: Daniel Neil Leininger ~ HAMacNeil@gmail.com
Hosting & Tech Support: Leiturgia Communications, Inc.
COME BACK & WATCH US GROW

WE DESIRE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS – Suggestions

1. Take digital photos of the entire work from several angles, including the surroundings.
2. Take close up photos of details that capture your imagination.
3. Look for MacNeil’s signature, often on bronze works. Photograph it too! See examples above.
4. Please, include a photo of yourself and/or those with you standing beside the work.
5. Add your comments or a blog of your adventure. It adds personal interest for viewers.
6. Send photos to HAMacNeil@gmail.com Contact me there with any questions. ~~ Webmaster