Pioneer Monuments in Northern California

Highlights monuments celebrating early white settlement of California. Visit current and former locations of pioneer monuments throughout northern California.

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Original Site of San Francisco's Pioneer Monument
Pioneer Monument by sculptor Frank Happersberger erected on this site in 1894 in front of San Francisco's new City Hall. It was moved in 1993 to make space for the new public library building. That move was protested by preservationists who wanted to keep it in its original location and by groups that opposed its depiction of Native Californians.
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San Francisco's Pioneer Monument
This monument was created in 1894 by Frank Happersberger and is one of the landmarks of the Civic Center Plaza area. At the time of its creation, few residents were concerned about the way the monument depicted Native Americans as subservient to European Americans. In recognition of the monument's biased interpretation of history, residents petitioned for an additional plaque that would provide historical context related to the creation of the monument. In September 2018, that portion of the monument was removed, leaving its pedestal empty.
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Original Site of Admission Day Monument
Original site of the Admission Day Monument, also known as the Native Sons Monument and the Phelan Fountain. Erected in 1897 to celebrate California statehood. It was moved to Golden Gate Park in 1948. But lobbying from the Native Sons led to it being moved again to Market, Post & Montgomery streets in 1977.
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Admission Day Monument
Erected in 1897 to celebrate California statehood. Also known as the Native Sons Monument and the Phelan Fountain. It was commissioned by San Francisco Mayor James D. Phelan for $12,000. It was sculpted by Californian Douglas Tilden.
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Original Site of The Pioneer
Original site of Solon Borglum's Pioneer statue. The plaster statue of a bearded white man on horseback was created for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. It stood at the entrance of the Court of Flowers. After the fair ended, this area was razed for redevelopment. The statue moved to Visalia, California.
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Original Site of End of the Trail
The End of the Trail was sculpted by James Earle Fraser for display in the Court of Palms at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. It was one of the most photographed sites of the fair, and has since become one of the most recognizable images in the country. After the fair closed, the plaster statue was claimed by residents of Tulare County, California, and relocated to Mooney Grove Park near Visalia. The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, acquired the original plaster in 1968. A bronze cast of the statue now appears in Mooney Grove Park.
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Original Site of Pioneer Mother Monument
Original site of monument honoring early white female settlers of California. The tribute to early Euro-American California settlers was created for San Francisco’s 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. It was forgotten after the fair, but later restored and moved to its permanent location in Golden Gate Park in 1940.
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Pioneer Mother Monument
Competing visions of pioneer womanhood collided in the creation of this statue sculpted by Charles Grafly. The tribute to early Euro-American California settlers was created for San Francisco’s 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. It was forgotten after the fair, but later restored and moved to its permanent location in Golden Gate Park in 1940.
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Donner Memorial State Park and Pioneer Monument
The Donner Party is one of America's most famous tragedies and most gruesome stories. In 1846, a wagon train traveling overland from Springfield, Illinois, to California was delayed by misleading information and internal conflict. The group became trapped in the Sierra Nevada mountains by an early snowfall, where they faced starvation and some resorted to cannibalism. Today their former campsite is a state park offering outdoor recreation. A monument and visitor center mark the site of their winter camp.
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Pony Express Statue
Sculpted by third-generation Californian Thomas Holland, this larger-than-life bronze artwork was unveiled in 1976 as part of the nation’s many bicentennial celebrations, and is located at the western terminus of the famed Pony Express overland mail route. Though the history of the Pony Express has been overwhelmingly mythologized over the last century-and-a-half, the short-lived delivery service did manage to convey mail over nearly 2,000 treacherous miles between Sacramento and St. Joseph, Missouri in 10 days for most of its 18 months in operation. During an existence plagued by politics and scandal, and despite being made quickly obsolete by railroad and telegraph, the Pony Express captured the imagination of the United States and remains one of the most iconic symbols of the American West.
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The End of the Trail
The End of the Trail was sculpted by James Earle Fraser for display at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. It was one of the most photographed sites of the fair, and has since become one of the most recognizable images in the country. After the fair closed, the plaster statue was claimed by residents of Tulare County, California, and relocated to Mooney Grove Park. The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, acquired the original plaster in 1968. A bronze cast of the statue now appears in Mooney Grove Park.
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The Pioneer (1915-1980)
The 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco included The Pioneer, a statue of a mounted settler. When the exposition was over, this statue and several others were unceremoniously taken to a dump. Locals in Visalia managed to save The Pioneer from destruction, placing it in Mooney Grove Park. However, the statue was damaged in an earthquake in 1980 and not repaired. Tragically, the only remain of the statue is the stone base which is located on a grassy knoll at the main entrance to the park.

This tour was created by Cynthia Prescott on 08/01/18 .

This tour has been taken 132 times within the past year.

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