AFW Throwback: 85th Year anniversary of Olen J. Pond memorial dedication



This statue is in Memorial Park and can be seen from Jefferson Boulevard.

The statue was dedicated 85 years ago on November 11, 1930. From the Journal Gazette article on that date:

Central figure in Pond Memorial

Above is pictured the beautiful Olen J. Pond memorial which will be unveiled at Memorial Park this afternoon. The memorial stands between two drinking fountains and a semi-circle of small trees forms an artistic background.

The girl who posed for Frederick Hibbard, noted sculptor, is an Indianapolis girl who always admired Fort Wayne Parks and the statues in the public parks in this city.

While in Chicago recently, she attended a party and in a conversation with Mr. Hibbard paid high tribute to the Fort Wayne parks and the statues. It was at this time she learned that Mr. Hibbard had designed most of the statues here and that he was making another for this city. She was slected as Mr. Hibbard’s subject for the Olen J. Pond memorial which will be unveiled this afternoon.

Although the above article does not mention it, the Olen J. Pond Memorial was also dedicated to the veterans of World War I.



In this original photo, provided by Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation, you will probably notice a head on the statue. According to Parks and Recreation, the head was knocked off the body some 20+ years ago and never recovered.



Also from Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation:

Acquired by the Fort Wayne Board of Park Commissioners in 1918, 42-acre Memorial Park was designed by Superintendent of Parks Adolph Jaenicke as a memorial to the Fort Wayne lives lost in World War I.

The land previously served as a golf course and occasional landing field to aviator Art Smith. Jaenicke’s design took advantage of the pre-existing golf course topography, inserting winding roads into the hills that created a canyon-like effect. The design was implemented with a Memorial Grove in 1919, a Memorial Column celebrating Art Smith installed in 1928, a War Memorial Arch completed in 1929, and the Pond Memorial Fountain built in 1930. In 1925 Jaenicke added a grotto modeled after the Blue Grotto of Capri, facing the historic Lincoln Highway and marking a gateway to and from the city.

Recreational amenities include a 1941 WPA pavilion designed by Leroy Bradley, a baseball diamond that was home to a professional women’s baseball team from 1947 to 1954, playgrounds, and a swimming pool. The Blue Grotto has been razed and parking and vehicular roads have been altered since Jaenicke’s time, but the park retains most of its design integrity.


The statue, among others in City Parks, has been listed for restoration, although what those plans are hasn’t been released.


View more photos taken on November 8, 2015.


Webmaster’s note: Thanks to Natalie Eggeman and Steve McDaniel from the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department for providing information for the above article.


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