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Statues - Hither & Thither

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Pioneer Monument

Kit Carson
Frederick MacMonnies
J.A. Boeuf & Bouard Fondeurs (Paris)

Denver /  Pioneer Monument   Denver /  Pioneer Monument


Bronze equestrian statue of a buckskin-cloaked, steed-mounted, rifle-toting Kit Carson, pointing the way west to the promised land, but gazing back towards the east and the civilization he left behind. Placed on a stone column in a hexagonal fountain basin. On three sides of the basin are three reclining bronze figures:

Denver - Pioneer Monument
The Hunter (Man with rifle and dog)
Denver - Pioneer Monument
The Prospector
Denver - Pioneer Monument
The Pioneer Mother (Woman with rifle and child)

Underneath Carson are on the sides of the column cattle skulls and below them cornucopias alternating with shields with:


Plaque with the names of donors:

subscribers to the pioneer monument fund

elizabeth m. byers · junius f brown · (horace w bennett
and julius myers) · arthur p church · walter s cheesman
adolph coors · ernest a colburn · william cooke daniels
william g evans · john evans · edward b field
frank w frueauff · john s flower · simon guggenheim
john good · charles hallack · william a hover
moses hallett · harry c james · chales b kountze
maria t kassler · (frank m ladd and john f sanger)
david h moffat · george mccullough · john k mullen
thomas m patterson · jerome s riche · richard t root
dennis sheedy · george c schleier · dennis sullivan
joseph a thatcher · henry r wolcott
thomas f walsh · philip zang
state of colorade city and county of denver
erected under the auspices of
the denver real estate exchange
frederick macmonnies sculptor

A plaque memorializing the Smoky Hill Trail was added in 1936 on the side facing Broadway:

"Here was the end of the famous
immigrant and stage road extending
from the missouri River to denver.
traversed by pioneers in 1858.
surveyed by w. g. russell in 1860.
route of butterfield's overland
dispatch and wells fargo express.
the trail took its human toll–
death by thirst and indian raids.

placed by
the state historical society of colorado
from the mrs. j. n. hall foundation
and by the city and county of denver

The sculpture on the woman with child and rifle is honored by the Daughters of Colorado with a plaque:

pioneer mothers of colorado
daughters of colorado
may 14, 1950

The fountain was restored in 1983. The plaque - on the side facing Colfax Avenue - reads as follows:

restored in december 1983 by
the park people
the city and county of denver
with the assistance of
adolph cours foundation
the denver foundation
hamilton oil corporation
george and sue cannon
fulenwider foundation, inc
patrick d. and paula broe
c.a. norgren foundation
the weckbaugh foundation
martin j. and mary anne o'fallon trust
blanche and arthur cowperthwaite
and more than fifty generous donors


Kit Carson statue: MACMONNIES
other bronzes: F. MACMONNIES
j.a. boeuf & bouard Fondeurs Paris


Colorado. A Guide to the Highest State, 1941
In the original design the sculptor had placed a defiant Sioux at the top of the monument, but pioneers rose in wrath, held indignation meetings, and created so much furor that MacMonnies made a special trip from Paris to confer with them. The pioneers were pacified when the figure of the noted scout was substituted. Later, however, criticism was directed at the modeling of the figures. Kit Carson said the resemble a "rococo cowboy on a pony of the same extraction"; Julian Street on a visit in 1914 remarked that the scout "looked like something that might have been modeled by a Frenchman whose acquaintance with the country had been limited to the reading of a bad translation of Fenumore Cooper." The entire fountain, he added, "might have been intended for a mantle decoration in Dresden China, which, through some confusion, had gotten itself enlarged and cast in bronze." (p. 144)

Several website write "Underneath Kit Carson on the second tier are small bronze conquered Indians", but we haven't seen them.

Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson (Madison County, Kentucky, 1809 - Fort Lyon, Colorado, 1868), American frontiersman. Carson left home in rural present-day Missouri at age 16 and became a trapper in the West. He gained notoriety for his role as John C. Fremont's guide in the American West. Carson also played a minor role in California during the 1846-1848 Mexican-American War (Wikipedia).

Old Postcard(s)

Click on the thumbnail for an enlargement.


Sources & Information


  • Boeuf & Bouard Fondeurs (Paris), J.A.
  • Carson, Kit
  • Equestrian statue
  • Hunter
  • MacMonnies, Frederick
  • Pioneer
  • Pioneer
  • Prospector
  • Woman with child
  • Location (N 39°44'25" - W 104°59'15")

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    Item Code: usco40; Photograph: 17 October 2010
    Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
    If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
    © Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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