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Ed Galloway.
Ed Galloway poses with his soon-to-be-burned wood art in 1913.

Ed Galloway's Lion in a Cage

Field review by the editors.

Springfield, Missouri

Ed Galloway was a Springfield woodcarver, known in the early 1900s for his ornate furniture. With some local backing he opened a studio in town and began carving large pieces of unique, purely decorative wood art. His goal was to have enough examples to exhibit at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. His most notable work -- worthy of an early postcard -- was a life-size allegorical woman standing on a small Earth, straddling the Panama Canal, wrapped in the coils of a huge snake.

Ed Galloway's Lion in a Cage.
Lion in a Cage, carved from a single sycamore stump.

Unfortunately that sculpture, and nearly all of the others, were destroyed in a fire in July 1913. Ed subsequently left Springfield and moved to Oklahoma, where he eventually became known for building the World's Largest Totem Pole -- out of concrete, not wood.

Ed's only known surviving artwork from the fire was a small lion in a circular cage, cleverly carved from a single sycamore stump. By 1956 it had found its way into Springfield's Dickerson Park Zoo. The charred artwork was partly restored in 1970 by students at Hillcrest High School, and then again in 1992 by the zoo staff and the Springfield Woodcarvers Association.

Today the lion in a cage is on public display in the administration building inside the Zoo, which notes that the artwork is not only "a fascinating and somewhat mysterious piece of history," but also "a visual reminder of the much-improved exhibits for housing animals."

Ed Galloway's Lion in a Cage

W. Smith St., Springfield, MO
Inside the Dickerson Park Zoo administration building. I-44 exit 77. Turn north, then quickly turn right onto W. Norton Rd. Drive a quarter-mile. Turn left at the Zoo sign onto Fort Ave. The road quickly splits; stay right, away from the Zoo, following the yellow line onto Smith St. Drive a quarter-mile. You'll see the Zoo administration building on the left.
M-F 8-5 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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