Pioneer Crossing Park
Backstory and Context
This park was created as a sesquicentennial project for the town of Shawnee 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.
Goslin’s original wagon train sculpture was reproduced in life size for this park. Most of the work is a stone relief of covered wagons driven by men and boys. At the front is a freestanding bronze oxen team. A bronze pioneer mother accompanies the relief.
Near the wagon train installation stands a limestone and bronze portrait of wagon master Richard “Dick” Williams. Williams first came to Johnson County in the 1850s as a government surveyor. He then worked as a “wagonmaster” escorting wagon trains from Kansas City to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and other destinations in the western United States.
Some Shawnee residents questioned spending close to $1 million on the 2.2 acre park and stone and bronze sculptures. The park is a narrow wedge of land in a commercial district that was once a used car lot.
Prescott, Cynthia Culver. Pioneer Mother Monuments: Constructing Cultural Memory. University of Oklahoma Press, 2019.