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Capitol Avenue Bronze Project brings history of the west to Cheyenne

Image of “Mittens,” by Chris Navarro courtesy of the City of Cheyenne

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — There are many different areas for visitors to explore when they come to the capital of the Cowboy State, including Union Pacific Depot and the halls of the historic Governors’ Mansion building. Yet what makes Cheyenne especially unique is the bronze statues that grace the street corners of Capitol Avenue.

The statues were the brainchild of Harvey Delsem, a local gallery owner and custom framer, nearly a decade ago, and it is only in recent years that his dream has come to light.

Nathaniel Trelease, a Cheyenne native who is the head of the project, said this is something that is important for the city’s history, noting that “people learn more about the state’s history walking up and down the street than we will ever by picking up the book.”

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“I’ve always been a lifelong lover of art, but particularly statuary marble, alabaster, and bronze,” said Trelease, adding the statues are meant to “symbolize the heroic heroism of the pioneering spirit.”

When asked why bronze was being used for the project, Trelease answered, “Remember the history of statuary in classical antiquity and also in the American. There’s a direct line between bronze statuary in ancient Greece and Rome. This is also the material of the great Western artist. It’s a durable material that sort of took on the colors of the natural environment.”

Though the project began on Capitol Avenue, it has spread out into the adjoining streets — especially 17th Street, which Delsem and Trelease envision will be for animal statues.

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The goal of the statue project is threefold, according to its website. First, they must be bronze, and “the figures represented, whether naturalist or abstract, will feature scenes from the West or everyday life that evoke thought, delight, and memory.” Second, the statue plaques will pay tribute to the donor and those to whom they dedicate the statue, thus solidifying their legacy in Cheyenne’s history. And finally, the statues will leave a permanent history, forming “a promenade up and down Capitol Avenue where generations of citizens, tourists, school children, and others walk, learn about the city, and state, and honor its heritage with their time.” 

To learn more about the project, follow the link here.


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