Archive for Saint Joseph
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.
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.
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:
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)
“Clan MacNeil Connections and Hermon Atkins MacNeil”
The current issue of the Clan MacNeil Association of America magazine has a feature story on Hermon Atkins MacNeil by webmaster, Dan Leininger
The Galley edited by Vicki Sanders Corporon titles Dan’s story as “Clan MacNeil Connections and Hermon Atkins MacNeil.” The feature and photos fill 8 pages in the “Galley” issue for Spring/Summer 2014.
The featured photos include the East Pediment of the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. (with a detail close-up of Moses, Confucius, and Salon); The George Rogers Clark monument in Vincennes, IN at the site of his victory over the British in 1779; Confederate Defenders of Charleston, SC; the Young Lawyer Abraham Lincoln in Champaign, IL; General George Washington on the Washington Arch, NYC, NY. Also in this article are photos of the grouping Coming of the White Man in Portland, OR; The WWI Angel of Peace Monument in Flushing NY; and a bust of Dwight L. Moody (who MacNeil sketched during the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair.
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 Express. Author Christopher Corbett [ CLICK HERE ] spoke about his book “Orphans Preferred: The Twisted Truth and Lasting Legend of the Pony Express” His 54 minute YouTube video shares humorous stories of Buffalo Bill, Pony Express, and research findings. The presentation includes questions from the audience, as well.
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 Pope. I 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.
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.
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.
Established March 1993
Here are a few images of Independence from Hermon Atkins MacNeil for this 237th Fourth of July Day in the United States of America.
1) From Vincennes, Indiana at the George Rogers Clark National Monument, Here is a hero of the American Revolution:
On a recent visit to the monument, the National Park Ranger commented on the pride and confidence that Hermon MacNeil placed in his rendering of Clark’s gaze and pose for this sculpture. Clark, a Virginia Militia officer, won the approval and support of Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia, to conduct a daring attack on the British in the Western frontiers. Clark crafted, trained, and commanded a special force of two hundred frontiersman, militia, and Kentucky sharpshooters. Their loyalty to the cause and Clark’s strategy of surprise resulted in capture of the British fortifications on the Western frontiers along the Mississippi, Ohio and Wabash Rivers at Vincennes, IN; Cahokia, IL; Kaskaskia, IL Enduring severe winter hardships, starvation, and sickness their monumental military achievement resulted in British withdrawal from the West and the surrender of territories east of the Mississippi in the Treaty of Paris in 1783. These are due in part to Clark’s Victories. He was the oldest of a family of famous brothers. In 1804 his brother William Clark, along with Meriwether Lewis, would explore the Louisiana Purchase west of the Mississippi for President Jefferson.
2. From New York City, Washington Square Arch. ~ “George Washington, Commander in Chief” by Hermon A. MacNeil.
In 1916 the northeast statue pedestal received its Washington statue after being empty for over 20 years.
The other shelf of the Arch remained empty until 1918 when Alexander Stirling Calder’s “Washington as President” was installed. The installation on the right is a bit confusing. This photo was salvaged from a NYC flea market in June 2012 by John Gomez and used with his permission. John purchased this and other photos of interest to this MacNeil researcher and has graciously allowed their use by webmaster. This ‘strange’ photo shows the MacNeil statue resting on the right-hand side of the Arch where the Calder statue would be placed two years later. (The ladder, rope and pulleys suggest “Men at Work.” Compare the 2012 photo to its left.)
For MacNeil this event took place the same year as the first issue of his sculpture for the U.S. Mint’s “Standing Liberty Quarter.”
For more on the Washington Arch: CLICK HERE
3. From Philadelphia, PA. “The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument.” Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The second half of the American Revolution (the preservation of the Union) is commemorated in this pair of 60 foot monuments on either side of the parkway entrance.
The back of the monuments read:
~~ “ONE COUNTRY, ONE CONSTITUTION, ONE DESTINY” ~~
~~ “IN GIVING FREEDOM TO THE SLAVE,
WE ASSURE FREEDOM TO THE FREE.” ~~
HEAR & VIEW PHILADELPHIA’S PRIDE IN THIS MACNEIL ART AT:
CLICK HERE and THEN run video by VIMEO.COM
FOR MORE INFO ON THESE MacNeil works see:
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.
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/).
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.