Pioneer Monuments in Colorado
This tour includes monuments and frontier-themed public art throughout Colorado
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.
Housed in the former county courthouse building, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum chronicles the cultural, economic and political history of the Pikes Peak region. It has received many awards and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It holds a collection of 60,000 objects, comprising of fine art, artifacts, and archival materials, which are housed in the Starsmore Center for Local History. The museum features two permanent exhibits, the Helen Hunt Jackson House, and One Man and His Vision: General William Jackson Palmer. Helen Jackson (1830-1850) was an important literary figure in the 19th century who moved to Colorado Springs in 1873. William Palmer fought in the Civil War as a Union general who later founded the city. Other exhibits are changing, and they explore topics such as the mining industry, agricultural life, Native American cultures, fine art (the museum contains an excellent collection of Van Briggle Art Pottery, which is often featured in exhibits), military history, and even space exploration. Visitors can also see murals painted by Eric Bransby that depict the history of the Pikes Peak area. Statues depicting local history stand outside the museum.
Originally designed by William Zorach as a monument to a Texas pioneers to mark the centennial of the Texas Republic. Texas residents were outraged that the State Board of Control intended to place a nude family grouping on the campus of the state women's college. The state broke its contract with Zorach and replaced it with a more demure pioneer woman sculpted by Leo Friedlander. Zorach's design was later renamed "The Family" and cast in heroic size amid the avant-garde art movement of the 1960s for Columbia Savings bank. Castings were placed in a niche specially designed for it in the Mining Exchange Building in downtown Colorado Springs and another at the bank's Pueblo, Colorado, office. They were removed in the 1990s, and the Pueblo casting was restored and installed at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.
Minimalist sculpture selected to honor Colorado pioneers in the mid-1960s. Artist Susan Pogzeba insisted that she was just playing with shapes, and that the sculpture was not intended to represent anything in particular. Nonetheless, it was chosen to honor Colorado pioneers in a park named after real estate developer William Zeckendorf.
Colorado became the first state in the Union to give women the right to vote in a popular election in 1893. "A New Beginning" represents western women's empowerment women in the 1890s. It was sculpted by Veryl Goodnight and placed outside History Colorado Center in time for the center's opening in 2012.
The 1911 Pioneer Monument marks the end of the Smoky Hill Trail, which crossed the great plains from Kansas to Denver and served as the principal route for prospectors seeking their fortunes during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. Artist Frederick MacMonnies' original design sparked public controversy because it did not sufficiently celebrate white "civilization" replacing supposed Native savagery. MacMonnies compromised by replacing the Plains Indian warrior at the top of the pillar with a statue of Kit Carson. In 2020, the monument again sparked controversy, this time because it celebrated white cultural dominance.
Denver Botanic Gardens' (DBG) York Street location is a 24-acre facility boasting approximately 50 distinctive gardens, including the 3-acre Mordecai Children's Garden. The grounds feature art as well as plants, including glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly, which are incorporated within the landscape design. Themed tours such as Stories in Sculpture, Seasonal Discovery, Garden Guru, and Midsummer Nights are offered, as well as daily programming at the Children's Garden. Guests can learn about the DBG's horticultural and biodiversity research at the interactive Science Pyramid, learn about the Gardens' living collections and herbaria (natural history collections), or visit the Helen Fowler library, which holds 25,000 titles as well as an extensive collection of botanical prints.
One of Denver's oldest parks, City Park was designed in 1882 by Henry Merryweather in the style of New York's Central Park. The park features gardens and a large greenhouse, mountain vistas, picnic areas, a playground, walking and jogging paths, tennis and handball courts, horseshoe pits, a lake and pavilion, ponds, and interactive fountains, and fields for baseball, softball, soccer, and football. The park is also home to the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and is included on the National Register of Historic Places
The first piece of public art installed by the City of Westminster, it has stood near City Hall since 1993. It depicts a frontier family representing family values and hope for the future. It was sculpted by Loveland, Colorado, artist George W. Lundeen. It was donated by real estate developer Jim Sullivan.
Site of a long-lost statue nicknamed "The Minuteman." A copy of Allen G. Newman's 1903 "Pioneer" statue was placed on the campus of the Colorado State Teacher's College (now University of Northern Colorado) in 1911. This Minuteman statue was removed and lost when an adjacent building was remodeled in 1938.
This statue of a pioneer family was sculpted by Loveland, Colorado, resident George W. Lundeen. It is a copy of a work commissioned by the artist's hometown of Holdredge, Nebraska. Like other pioneer family monuments, "Promise of the Prairie" celebrates western settlers' vision for the future. It was dedicated in 1993.