"What I like about the story of the great wagon train migration across America is the daring, the tenacity and the innovativeness of the pioneer spirit that opened the West."
Bruce R. Lauritzen
Chairman, First National Bank
Five city blocks of downtown Omaha have been transformed into a green urban sculpture park, which depicts the city's rich pioneer history in one of the largest installations of bronze and stainless steel in the world.
The two sculpture parks - Pioneer Courage and Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness - are on non-adjacent sites, but are woven together through Omaha's urban cityscape as a result of remarkable work by the artists and planners. Sculptors Blair Buswell, Edward Fraughton and Kent Ullberg created the astounding sculptures that bring to life a departing wagon train a stampeding group of bison, a flock of Canadian Geese and much more.
First National Bank is proud to be the center for this amazing work of art, and invites everyone to experience it personally.
Pioneer Courage | Blair Buswell and Edward Fraughton
Two Utah-based sculptors, Blair Buswell of Highland and Ed Fraughton of South Jordan, set out to capture the pioneer spirit when they created Pioneer Courage - a tribute to four pioneer families departing westward from Omaha in covered wagons.
Installed in 2005 and 2009, the Pioneer Courage sculpture stands approximately 12 feet high and more than 40 feet long - a magnificent display that includes oxen, horses and mules in their hitches. Individual characters range in height from three-to-seven and-a-half feet. Blair Buswell's Wagon Master, who guides pioneers westward while looking after the families and supplies, stands 11 feet tall and weighs approximately 2,000 pounds. Ed Fraughton's hunter Group portrays the pioneers' constant need for nourishment, particularly for meat to supplement their meals.
Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness | Kent Ullberg
Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness is the work of sculptor Kent Ullber, N.A., F.N.S.S., of Corpus Christi, Texas. Consisting of 67 bronze and stainless steel works, Ullberg's creation occupies First National Bank's property on all four corners of the 16th and Dodge intersection, in addition to more works on 15th Street.
Among the features of Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness are three buffalo bulls, each standing eight feet tall and weighing more than 1,400 pounds. They stand alongside several yearling bulls and two cows with their calves, in addition to a large water feature with eight-foot-long bronze Canadian Geese taking flight. These geese are attached to a variety of structures - including 18-foot bronze trees, a traffic signal, a building corner, a light post and two other poles. The geese display culminates with several stainless steel geese suspended within the glass atrium of the First National Bank headquarters, simulating their flight from past into the modern-day world.