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Public Art

Francis Preston Blair, Jr.

By Wellington W. Gardner
Category: Statue


Erected in 1885, the statue Francis Preston Blair, Jr. honors the Civil War general and statesman who fought for the North, then battled to release Southerners from disenfranchisement. Blair was a member of the Missouri legislature, the United States House of Representatives, and the Senate.

The monument was a gift of the Blair Association, which was formed expressly for the purpose of commissioning a statue to Blair. They held a national competition but rejected all models and reissued a call to sculptors, this time asking for drawings. Again, all of the proposals were turned down. Gardner contacted the committee and invited them to see a model that he had produced in his studio at Washington University, which was immediately accepted as the most accurate likeness of Blair.

The monument was unveiled with an imposing ceremony and parade in the midst of an electric storm. Eight train coaches and nearly every vehicle in the city were used to transport the 15,000 people who attended the event.

Dimensions: 9′ x 5′ x 3′
Year Completed: 1885
Material: Bronze with granite pedestal
Owner: City of St. Louis
Donor: Blair Monument Association

*Photo Courtesy of Forest Park Forever.

About the artist:

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