Albany's Moses of Banking.

Rufus King, Albany's Moses of Banking

Field review by the editors.

Albany, New York

Rufus King was a powerful 19th century New York banker whose honesty and money-smarts saved the state a lot of cash and benefitted the little people. He died, and then his eldest son died, leaving his inheritance to build a tribute to his father. The result, unveiled in 1893, was a 19-foot-high pile of rocks topped with a ten-foot-tall bronze statue of Moses, arms upraised. Water trickles out of the rock pile. The biblical reference is to an Old Testament story of Moses hitting a rock with his staff on Mount Horeb, miraculously making water come out "that the people may drink." Rufus King worked the same miracles with his staff of sound fiscal management, making the money flow to the people. It's a metaphor that may have been more obvious in the 19th century.

The artist was John Massey Rhind. According to an account of the sculpture's dedication in the New York Times, Rhind was so professional that he used "a Hungarian Jew about fifty years old" as the model for Moses. Rhind was chosen over Daniel Chester French, who instead sculpted the equally over-the-top "Big Mary" of Chicago in 1893.

Rufus King, Albany's Moses of Banking

Washington Park Rd., Albany, NY
Washington Park, King Memorial Fountain near Knox Street Mall.
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