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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

City of Sculptures - Waupun

The city of Waupun was first settled in 1838 and the meaning of the word is "the early light of day" and is of Indian origin.  By 1857 the city was incorporated and the Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad had come to town.


 Today Waupun has one of the highest concentrations of public art per capita in the United States, the bronze sculptures all over town were created by Clarence Shaler.


Over the decades Waupun has seen a lot of industry come and go including manufacturing of shoes, umbrellas, carriages, windmill manufacturing and a mill for knitting concerns. 


The town has also been home to a state prison since 1851 and is still a large presence right smack in the middle of downtown today.  So strange since usually the prisons you pass on out in the fields.  The picture above is of City Hall, much more pleasant.


My favorite sculpture was called "Dawn of Day" and is right in front of City Hall.  What do you think?


Waupun's most famous sculpture is in a nice little city park next to the local cemetery.


The original model of “The End of the Trail” was created by James Earl Fraser in 1894 when he was 17 years old.  It’s completed size was only 18 inches tall.  Fraser was asked to replicate his masterpiece in plaster for the 1914 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco which was where Shaler first beheld the work of art.  The child of pioneer farmers, Shaler had contact with Native Americans living around nearby Lake Emily and was saddened by their disappearance over the years.  As a tribute to the Native Americans he commissioned James Earl Fraser to cast the statue in bronze as a gift to the City of Waupun.

"The End of the Trail"

 It took two years to complete at a cost of $50,000 and was unveiled at its present site on June 23, 1929.  In 1975, the statue become a Wisconsin landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.  While maybe not a destination, Waupun is a fun little side trip just minutes from Horicon Marsh if you are in the area.

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