This statue was originally purchased by J. C. Nichols Company to place at the entrance to the Prairie Village Shopping Center to make the postwar Kansas City suburb look more historical. It was moved to a fountain at the entrance to the town in 2002.
1920s, Kansas City joined other prominent western American cities in erecting
monuments to pioneer mothers. After World War II, large cities lost interest in
those monuments. But smaller communities turned to local artists to celebrate
local history. Those local artists increasingly depicted nuclear families
rather than solo white women. Residents of Prairie Village, Kansas selected this
sculpture of a strong father, a submissive mother, and young baby, for the
town’s new shopping center.
estate developers J. C. Nichols Co. sponsored a contest at the Kansas City Art
Institute for an original sculpture for its new Prairie Village Shopping
Center. Six students entered, and Prairiie Village residents voted for their
favorite. The winning design was “Homesteaders” by Anna Belle Campbell. It took
nearly a year for Campbell and her friend—and later husband—Joe Cartwright to
complete the 12-foot-tall statue. It was cast in stone and marble by Ornamental
Casterworks in Kansas City. The completed sculpture was dedicated in June 1952.
knew little about frontier clothing and wagon wheels when she designed the “Homesteaders”
statue. But her interest in local history persisted, and she later became the
curator at the national Frontier Trails Center in nearby Independence,
Highwoods Properties purchased the J. C. Nichols Company in 1999, the statue
was donated to the city of Prairie Village. It was placed on a fountain to mark
the city’s entrance in 2002.