Heald Square Monument
The Heald Square Monument is a landmark of an eleven foot tall bronze sculpture made by Lorado Taft and Leonard Crunelle. The bronze icon is located at Wacker Drive at Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. The statue is presenting the first U.S. President, George Washington, and two main , Robert Morris and Haym Salomon, during the events of the American Revolution.
Backstory and Context
In August of 1812, the Potawatomi, a Native American tribe around the Chicagoland area of the time, had placed an enormous threat to the people living in Fort Dearborn. Captain Nathan Heald, a U.S. Army Officer, was stationed at Fort Dearborn during the War of 1812. Heald began to evacuate the ninety-four people who had began living in Fort Dearborn because of constant threats and attacks made by the Potawatomi tribe on the fortress. Heald had made the ninety-four people travel out to a safer location in Indiana called Fort Wayne. After traveling over a mile away from the isolated and abandoned fort, the Potawatomi tribe traveled in a group of five hundred and attacked the ninety-four people traveling away. In the time being under an hour, about fifty-two members who lived in Fort Dearborn traveling to Fort Wayne in Heald’s party were killed and the rest were taken as prisoner. The natives, being this angered, had taken it upon themselves to destroy and burn down what was left of the isolated Fort Dearborn. This was well known as the Dearborn Massacre. The horrific and unfortunate events have become a stepping stone and small foundation of Chicago’s many historical events. Heald Square was named from Captain Nathan Heald for his bravery.
In 1934, Heald Square became part of the Chicago Park District but its ownership was transferred to the City of Chicago as a key component to the Second Functional Consolidation Act in 1959. On July 4, 1936, a Chicago attorney, Barnet Hodes, who was also head of the Chicago Department of Law at the time, led an organized attempt in order to put down the rise Anti-Semitism in the Chicagoland area. “Hodes defined the purpose of the foundation: “Leaders in every walk of life and representatives of every cultural group have confirmed the conviction that a major contribution to patriotism, historical knowledge, and understanding of the part played by peoples of various nationalities in the building of America will be made by the erection in Chicago of an appropriate memorial symbolizing the cooperation that George Washington received from Haym Salomon and Robert Morris.” Hodes felt that a commemorative statue of Salomon standing alone would not deliver the message of inter-cultural cooperation as effectively as a sculpture with non-Jewish patriots like George Washington and Robert Morris.” (Carl Volkmann) Hodes had made the decision and had chosen Lorado Taft to be the main artist in building this amazing sculpture. Hodes had also created a campaign to raise $50,000 to complete this project. Taft had completed a small yet significant amount of detail to a study model of the sculpture that had Robert Morris and Haym Salomon standing side by side with George Washington.
Unfortunately, Taft had passed away on October 30, 1936, leaving the project incomplete. Taft’s works for this project was later presumed and completed by Leonard Crunelle, Mary Webster, and Nellie Walker. George Washington was modeled by these artists after taking inspiration from the 18th century bust version of George Washington by Jean Antoine Houdon. In 1941, the Heald Square Monument was dedicated on December 15. It became the first sculpture in the Chicagoland area to be marked as historical land mark on September 15, 1971 by the city’s council
Keating, Ann Durkin. Rising Up From Indian Country: The Battle of Fort Dearborn and the Birth of Chicago. Chicago ; London: The University of Chicago Press, 2012.
Volkmann, Carl. “Heald Square Monument.” Heald Square Monument, 1 Jan. 1970, loradotafttheprairiestatesculptor.blogspot.com/2012/12/heald-square-monument.html?m=1
Roberts, Jim. “Herald Square Monument Editorial Photo. Image of Died - 73181356.” Dreamstime, 20 June 2016, www.dreamstime.com/editorial-photo-herald-square-monument-summer-picture-public-art-wacker-drive-titled-located-chicago-illinois-bronze-image73181356