Giant Copper Indian
Herbert W. Drews was a heating and air conditioning man by trade, but an artist at heart. In the 1930s he built a big Tin Man and stood him outside his business in Danville, Illinois. Then in 1949 he built the Big Indian.
A plaque at its base calls the statue "The Chief" and says it was built to honor Kesis, "a famous Kickapoo Indian chief of east central Illinois." The statue stood on the old Dixie Highway for 46 years, outliving both Herbert W. and his son, Herbert O. A grandson moved the statue to its current spot in Champaign in 1995.
Standing nearly 17 feet tall, the statue is surprisingly lifelike. Obviously a tough man, Chief Kesis wears only moccasins and a loin cloth. Old postcards show a murderous tomahawk belted to his waist, but it's gone now.
Made of hammered copper, the statue initially mimicked the skin color of its Indian subject. But time has turned the Chief green, like the Statue of Liberty or Frankenstein's monster.
In his current location, the Chief aims his bow west toward Interstate 57. His scowl of concentration suggests a fatal end for whatever is on the receiving end of his arrow.