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The Pioneer Mother.

The Pioneer Mother (Gone)

Field review by the editors.

Eugene, Oregon

In 1927 sculptor Alexander Phimister Proctor created "Pioneer Mother" for Kansas City, a misnamed statue that in fact depicts the entire pioneer family of the wealthy businessman who paid for it.

Five years later another well-off businessman, Burt Brown Barker, paid Proctor to sculpt another "Pioneer Mother," but this time it really was just of mom, in this case Elvira Chadwick Brown Matheny. Unlike most pioneer mom statues, Elvira sits in a classical chair with a book in her lap, like maybe she'd been reading about the Old West but hadn't actually been there. In fact, the only thing pioneer about the statue are the bas-relief plaques on its base, depicting typical wagon train scenes.

Burt Brown Barker was not only successful enough to pay for a statue of his mom, he was also the vice president of the University of Oregon, which is why the statue sits on its campus.

The Pioneer Mother

On the campus of the University of Oregon. East side of the city. From E. 18th Ave. turn north onto University Ave. When you reach the stop sign, park (good luck) then walk to the left, just north of the big red brick building with the circular driveway in front of it. You'll come to a quad on the right; the statue is seated on a pedestal there, facing away from you.

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