Pioneer Monuments in Kansas
Driving tour of pioneer-themed public monuments in Kansas. See also tour of pioneer monuments in Kansas City metropolitan area.
Dedicated in 1952, this statue was purchased by J. C. Nichols Company and originally placed at the entrance to the Prairie Village Shopping Center as part of an effort to build a connection between the postwar Kansas City suburb and the area's pioneer history. The statue was later moved and placed within a fountain at the entrance to the town in 2002.
Park created the town of Shawnee's 150th anniversary in 2006. It commemorates Shawnee’s place on the mid-19th-century Santa Fe, Oregon, and California wagon trails and Fort Leavenworth Military Road. It features two sculptures by local artist Charles Goslin depicting that history.
This stagecoach sculpture designed by local Chinese-born artist Kwan Wu, reflects the ethnic diversity of the 19th-century American West. The sculpture was funded by private donations to mark Olathe’s 150th anniversary.
Statue of pioneer family marks the junction of the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails. It depicts a man in frontier clothing kneeling in prayer. He holds a Bible in one hand, and his other hand rests on a walking plow. His wife stands beside him with her head bowed in prayer. She cradles their young son in one arm and rests the other hand on her husband's shoulder. This statue became a centerpoint of MidAmerica Nazarene University when erected in the campus Prayer Circle in 1994.
This bronze sculpture is dedicated to all of the children whose lives were lost due to the harsh conditions on the overland journeys westward. A pioneer boy, a girl and their dog run through an arch. It was sculpted by Kansas City artist Kwan Wu. Rocks in the fountain beneath them represent the streams that children crossed on the overland trail. Sculptor Kwan Wu was born and trained in China, but since immigrating to the United States and settling in the Kansas City area he has sculpted two major works depicting the western trails for Olathe, Kansas.
Monument to early white pioneers in Kansas. Sculpted by Frederick Hibbard, it depicts a white man working with a shovel. Physician and real estate speculator Simeon Bell purchased this sculpture, originally called "The Corn Planter," at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. He donated it to the University of Kansas in hopes that it would help future generations understand the challenges that early Kansas settlers faced. It remained in storage until 1916, when it became the first work of statuary installed on that campus. It has been moved several times as the campus has changed.
Located on the southwest quadrant of the stunning Kansas State Capitol’s grounds, the Pioneer Women Memorial pays an essential tribute to an often overlooked facet of westward expansion in the United States: the woman, mother, and pioneer. Women pioneers were central to the success of westward settlement, and without these courageous women, many who held several roles in both traveling caravans and small settlements, newfound communities west of the Mississippi would have encountered eventual destruction and abandonment. The sculpture on the capitol grounds features the image of a pioneer woman, who is said to represent the artistic embodiment of all Kansas pioneer women. Aside her on the marble pedestal includes a dog by one of her feet, a pre-teen son by the other foot, a baby cradled in her arm, and a large rifle sitting across her lap. According to the statue’s inscription, the symbolic pioneer mother is too well-fed to be a pioneer woman, but it nonetheless represents the hardships, struggles, and ideals these women met settling into the Kansas territory. Sculpted by acclaimed Topeka resident, Robert Merrill Gage, the Pioneer Women Memorial was dedicated on May 11, 1937, the Mother’s Day of that year.
1931 relief of a frontier farm, with a log cabin, covered wagon, and a pioneer plowing by unknown artist. Copper or bronze plaque set on iron footings cast by Deggingers Foundry attached to boulder. Dedicated in 1931 by Shawnee County Old Settlers Society. Originally mounted on the archway entrance of the "Old Settlers Memorial Grounds" in Gage Park.
Located in Gage Park, the Munn Pioneer Memorial commemorates the men, women and children who traveled to Kansas to settle and start a new life. It features a bronze statue of Lillie Gordon Munn and a young man, and a large 45-foot bas-relief carving depicting the "movement of civilizations from east to west." Figures depicted include Native Americans, pioneer families, Spaniards led by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, Buffalo Bill, priests, farmers, cattlemen, scouts, and cattle pulling a wagon. The memorial was created by artist Fred Torrey (1884-1967) in 1939.
One of 12 identical statues depicting white pioneer women migrating along 19th-century western trails. Commissioned by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), they were dedicated in 1928-29 in 12 states stretching from Maryland to California.
This sunbonneted pioneer mother carrying a Bible and satchel and leading her young son by the hand echoes Bryant Baker's famous "Pioneer Woman" for Ponca City, Oklahoma. It was sculpted by Dorothy L. Koelling in 1989, and dedicated on the Wichita riverfront in 1994. According to the dedication plaque, it "symbolizes the hardhip and dreams of early Wichita pioneers." It was given in memory of Eva M. and Will G. Price to recognize "their devotion and inspiration to the cultural and business life of Wichita." The statue stands in front of the civic center, near statues of a Native American man holding a peace pipe, Lebanese immigrant Farris George Jabara, and a group of children at play representing America's future.
This styled nude statue was intended to honor early white Kansas settler women when it was placed in Wichita amid the nation’s bicentennial celebration in 1976. Wichitans accepted the statue at that time, but some appear to have become concerned with her nudity. Since 2005 the statue has been seriously vandalized three times.
Sculpted by Kansas artist Pete Felten, Junior, this 1976 monument commemorates early Volga German settlers in the region. It emphasizes their cultural distinctiveness.
This 1971 seven-foot-tall limestone statue by local sculptor Pete Felten, Jr., was created to stand at the Ellis County Historical society's new headquarters at Hays Boot Hill. The historical society sought a dignified sculpture of a plainsman. But Felten wanted the statue to commemorate those who died "with their boots on" as a result of frontier violence. Also known as "The Homesteader," it stands in the town's first cemetery.
This white marble statue of a lone pioneer woman carrying two books was erected on a granite base in the Mount Hope Cemetery in Ellis, Kansas, at the height of the Great Depression in 1933. Her pose and the shawl covering her head and shoulders more closely resembles pioneer mothers by Mormon sculptor Avard Fairbanks than the sturdy women in sunbonnets that were typical of the Pioneer Mother Movement of the 1920s and 1930s.
1971 sculpture by local artist Pete Felten, Jr. Local residents were unsure about the sculpture when it was first proposed, but soon grew to like it.
Sculpted by Charlie Norton of nearby Leoti, Kansas, this 9-foot-tall bronze pioneer woman statue's dedication was the highlight of Thomas County's centennial celebration on October 8, 1985. The statue was placed in front of the 1906 county courthouse, a Romanesque Revival building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The pioneer woman holds a baby on her hip and waves a handkerchief over her head to signal to someone--likely her husband--far across the Kansas prairie.
Statue erected on the grounds of the Sherman County courthouse to mark the county's 1987 centennial. Sculpted by Greg Todd. A pioneer man wearing a wide-brimmed hat squats down in his field, holding the rich soil in his proper right hand. Beside him stands his young wife. The wind sweeping the High Plains blows her long skirt and apron. Her right hand rests gently on her husband's shoulder, indicating her reliance on his strength. Her left hand holds tightly to one handle of their prominently featured walking plow. The man's hard work and ingenuity, combined with his wife's nurturing, enable them to survive and thrive on the soil that inspired the town's name of Goodland, Kansas.
The design for this statue was originally sculpted by Wheeler Williams in the 1920s. He submitted "Fearless" to a 1920s competition to place a pioneer woman monument in Ponca City, Oklahoma, but did not win. Thirty years later, donor D. K. Baty hired a local art student to design a monument for the town of Liberal. But Baty soon substituted Williams' older design.