Rural Missouri - May 2017 - 9
Above left: Glen works on the female portion of the monument depicting an Osage family in his shop. Above right: This life-size clay mold of a brave will eventually be the largest portion
of the four-piece monument. After creating the mold, the final steel product will be three times as large.
and Route 66 used to be Springfield Road which used to be known as the Osage
Trail. We wondered, 'How is it that we could have such a significant group of
people with very little evidence of them being here?' "
Glen - having researched the Osage - came up with a miniature model
featuring four distinct parts of the Osage monument: a brave, a woman with a
child, a 9-year-old girl and a red wolf pulling a travois.
"It looked so good," says Dennis. "We started our partnership there. Glen was
going to work on the sculptures, and I was going to work on getting the money."
The community rallied around the project. Various civic organizations took
up the cause, which made the work more worthwhile according to Glen. "One
of the best aspects of this to see was that everyone grabbed hold of this project
with a passion."
Building the mammoth monuments has been no easy feat. "We wanted it to
be big enough that people would want to find out more," he says. "Life size was
just not big enough. That's too easy to pass by on the road. We wanted it to be
astonishing and make people curious enough to stop."
It was decided the monument would be a 3-to-1 ratio. Glen uses meticulous
research to get the shapes and sizes of the Osage correct. He relies upon books,
some of his drawings and even human models in the case of the monument of
the little girl. Each piece was built independent of the others, working smallest
"Once I started the claying process, it would take about four weeks give or
take depending on the size," he says of the life-sized mold. "After that's cured,
we'll pour the urethane foam and I'll use that as dissect. Once that's ready to
go, the metal work starts."
The foam is cut into 4-inch-tall sections which Glen uses to build the
20-gauge steel sculptures, one foot at a time.
While the brave - complete with a buffalo robe, loin cloth, roach and more
- is the biggest of the four tributes, Glen says he is drawn to the mother with
"The mother is probably the most important to me because she's got her left
arm out with a bowl, which we're going to create into a 6-foot waterfall," the
Crawford Electric Cooperatives member says. "To me, she is Mother Ozark or
Mother Water, because of all the springs here. I wanted to show that it started
here, with them. They were the first to enjoy the springs. She's dipping water
while being in motherhood."
The finished product will be just feet from Interstate 44 next to the visitors
center off of Exit 208. All the monuments are facing west, to mark where the
sun falls daily. The pieces also will be patinaed, which gives them a dark reddish color.
Cuba hosted a delegation of the Osage, including Principal Chief Geoffrey
Standing Bear, to view the project as well as visit the area. Dennis had farmers
bring in old relics they had found on their land that may be affiliated with the
"It had a dramatic impact on them, the chief and the elders," Dennis says.
"That's when our relationship with them really started. We never asked them
for anything. This is a monument to them, their people and their way of life."
Glen says he had similar interactions during visits. "The chief shook my
hand and said: 'Because of the work you guys are doing, we've had communications come about that we've been longing for
for 200 years,' " Glen says. "I think that was
The partnership between the small town
in Missouri and the tribe won't end when
the final piece of the sculpture is put up.
Dennis says there are plans for an Osagethemed mural in downtown Cuba to
go with the
town. Additionally, there
are plans for
from both Cuba
the Osage Nation
to have learning
"We want them
to learn the numbers and colors each
other use and why
Dennis says. "We think
any interchange of information and knowledge
between their youth and
ours is a good thing. We're
trying to reach back in time
and broaden our sense of history."
For more information on the Osage
Trail call 573-885-2531, email info@
osagetraillegacy.com or visit www.
Left: The first three sections are on display near
Interstate 44. The last addition, the brave, will be
added later this year. Right: The mother with
her child also will feature a six-foot waterfall.