Wagon Master statue
Backstory and Context
This statue sculpted by L. E. “Gus” Shafer is a larger-than-life depiction of a wagon train leader. It is one of several monuments in the Kansas City area that commemorate the region's connections to the Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails during the mid-19th century.
The artist used his own face as a model for this sculpture. The bronze statue stands on a large limestone rock. It was a gift from Catherine and Miller Nichols, their four daughters, and the artist. It was dedicated on September 8, 1973.
A plaque accompanying the statue reads:
"God slumbers in the rock
He breaths in the plant
He dreams in the animal
He awakens in man.
– An Indian proverb."
Other nearby bronze plaques recount the history of the Santa Fe Trail and the Civil War Battle of Westport that happened nearby.
Prescott, Cynthia Culver. Pioneer Mother Monuments: Constructing Cultural Memory. University of Oklahoma Press, 2019.