The General Edward Bates statue was originally created for Lafayette Park, but it was never installed because the sculptor’s fee had not been paid. The Forest Park commissioners, out of their state appropriation, paid the balance and bought the piece. The park’s first statue honors the prominent Missouri politician who became attorney general in Lincoln’s cabinet. The statue was unveiled in a dedication ceremony on June 24, 1876. The presence of the sculpture represented proof that this was now a park and no longer wilderness.
The pedestal medallions, added later, recognize four notable St. Louisans: Henry Sheffie Geyer, a politician and attorney who acted as counsel in the Dred Scott case; Hamilton Gamble, Bates’ law partner, who was appointed governor of Missouri during the outbreak of the Civil War when the governor fled; Charles Gibson, a land attorney and author of the legislation which resulted in the establishment of Forest Park; and James Eads, engineer and inventor.
Dimensions: 10′ x 4′ x 4′
Year Completed: 1876
Owner: City of St. Louis
Donor: Forest Park Commissioners
*Photo Courtesy of Forest Park Forever.