Photographer's Note

One of the most widely known landmarks of Pioneers Park in Lincoln, NE is another work by Ellis Burman and titled "Smoke Signal" . "Smoke Signal" was created by Burman with funding from President Franklin Roosevelts’ Works Progress Administration Program. This program helped provide jobs and stimulate the economy during the years of the Great Depression. When Burman applied and was found eligible for WPA funding, he suggested that a huge statue of a Native American be placed in Pioneers Park. He formed a 15 ft tall clay model working in an unheated vacant building at the fairgrounds. The winter weather of 1934/35 combined with an unheated studio caused Burman a few delays because the clay kept freezing. When completed, a mold was made and reassembled at the park site. Cement was poured into the mold and was colored with red oxide to give it a bronze color. "Smoke Signal" weighs a whopping 5 tons. The entire bill for materials to the City was only $50. "Smoke Signal" is a memorial to Nebraska Tribes and depicts an Native American pulling a blanket away from a fire to produce a smoke signal - a signal devised to communicate across the vast expanses of the plains. When the dedication took place in 1935, it drew a huge crowd, with over 100 native Americans attending. In full dress, Chiefs from the Omaha, Winnebago, Sioux, and Ponca Tribes atop their horses lined the hillside to face the sun as it set. It is reported that the celebration and gathering of Native Americans lasted several days beyond the dedication, and that those who remained feasted on buffalo meat from the park herd.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: doug bull (bulldoug) (22)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2008-08-17
  • Categories: Artwork
  • Camera: Nikon Coolpix L3
  • Exposure: f/3.2, 1/210 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2008-09-12 9:08
Viewed: 5592
Points: 0
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