Promise of the Prairie statue
Backstory and Context
This statue was erected to celebrate the centennial of Holdredge, Nebraska. It was sculpted by Holdredge native George Wayne Lundeen. He is part of the Lundeen family of sculptors and artists, who are now based out of Loveland, Colorado. Copies of this sculpture stand in Westminster and Greeley, Colorado.
The sculpture depicts a pioneer family. Like other pioneer family monuments, it presents a nuclear family as a vision and hope for the future. And like other pioneer family sculptures, it features a father dressed in overalls, a mother wearing a prairie-style gown and apron, and their young son. But Promise of the Prairie strays from other pioneer family monuments in important ways. It emphasizes the married couple rather than the child, and gives the father a greater nurturing role. Most pioneer monuments place a school-aged son in front of his parents, preparing to lead them into the future. Mothers often gaze lovingly at a baby in their arms. In this work, in contrast, the father holds a preschool-aged boy. This emphasizes the father's nurturing role alongside his leadership. Both father and mother gaze into the distance, imagining their future. Rather than gripping books to prepare for the future, the young boy plays with his father's wide-brimmed hat. The boy is barefoot, which was typical for frontier children but is rarely seen in pioneer monuments. On this young boy, it further emphasizes his innocence.
THE PROMISE OF THE PRAIRIE
100 Years of Family 1883-1983
The spirit of the pioneer as envisioned by sculptor
George W. Lundeen
Dedicated to the people of Holdredge to commemorate the centennial
June 19, 1983
Funded by donations in cooperation with the Phelps County Community Foundation, Inc.
George Lundeen--Biography, Lundeen Sculpture. Accessed September 4th 2019. http://www.lundeensculpture.com/bio-george/.
Promise of the Prairie--Holdredge, Nebraska. Accessed September 4th 2019. http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM7V9T_Promise_of_the_Prairie_Greeley_CO.
Prescott, Cynthia Culver. Pioneer Mother Monuments: Constructing Cultural Memory. University of Oklahoma Press, 2019.