Dallas’ Founding Immortalized in Bronze

Pioneer Plaza broze bull sculptures | Image by Texas Trees Foundation

Dallas’ founding story is immortalized through the bronze bull sculptures at Pioneer Plaza, one of the city’s most popular attractions.

The site, located in front of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, is home to striking artwork that gives visitors a freeze frame of what the area may have looked like back when the city was founded in 1841. The statues, erected in the mid-1990s, pay homage to Dallas’ founders: cattle drivers who passed through the region while on the Shawnee Trail during the mid-19th century.

The pieces, created by artist Rober Summers of Glen Rose, Texas, honor the cowboy culture that persists to this day in Texas. The plaza where the installation resides is the largest public open space in the city’s Central Business District, an ironic yet ideal location for the dozens of bronze longhorn steers being guided by cowboys on horseback.

Notably, the bronze crew of three cowboys depicts the diversity that cowboy culture has always possessed.

“There are three cowboys on horseback. There’s an African American, an Anglo trail boss, and a Hispanic Vaquero … And if you look at the Anglo cutter on the very top … he is supposed to remind us of Rodin’s Thinker in Paris. He is sending us all the way back to the 19th century, and his pose is the same on horseback. It’s kind of a play on art history,” Dallas Public Art Program manager for the Office of Arts and Culture Lynn Rushton-Reed told KERA News.

The bronze statues are renowned for their realism, with no two longhorns alike. One visitor who reviewed the attraction called the site “a must-see.”

“This is a sight which I feel you must see in reality, it’s breathtaking with the detail which has been carved into every animal,” wrote Ossie from the UK, per Tripadvisor.

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