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Indian statue still attracting attention

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Indian statue still attracting attention
Indian statue still attracting attention

The Indian Statue in Lake George Battlefield Park was originally called the Mohawk Warrior. It was donated to the park by George Pratt, son of Charles Pratt (Standard Oil). George was Commissioner of Conservation for New York State from 1915-1921.

From the beginning, the Indian Statue was a popular destination for both tourists and locals. One did not visit Battlefield Park without a stop at the popular attraction, especially if accompanied by children.

Today, adults and children alike are mesmerized by the Indian kneeling and poised to take a drink of water from the pool. (The stonework in front of the statue was done by Glens Falls stone mason, Joseph J. Fredella.)

The Indian statue is one of many famous sculptures done by the prolific Alexander Phimister (Phim) Proctor (1860-1950).

As a young man living in Denver, Colorado, Proctor could be seen heading for the mountains with a sketchbook in one hand and a gun in the other. It was here that his love for nature and wildlife was nurtured, and he became known as the "Sculptor in Buckskin."

Proctor had a long career sculpting famous animal figures, such as the Two Griffins at the St. Louis Art Museum; Sentinel Lions in front of the Frick Building, Pittsburgh, PA,; and The Princeton Tigers, Nassau Hall, Princeton University. He also did sculptures of Teddy Roosevelt, Western Indians and his famous Pioneer Mother.

In 1909, Proctor met George Pratt and his brother, Herbert Pratt. Herbert commissioned a four-foot buffalo and two tigers for his home on Long Island, New York.

In 1912, Proctor went on a hunting trip to Alberta, Canada with George Pratt, and the following year they went big game hunting in British Columbia where Pratt was gathering specimens for the Smithsonian.

In 1917, Proctor received commissions for Bronco Buster, On the War Trail and Pioneer and Mohawk Indian.

In 1919, Pratt drove from California to Browning, Montana looking for a new model for On the War Trail and Mohawk Indian. In late fall he returned home with Big Beaver, a Blackfoot Indian.

It was in 1921 that the statue was placed in Battlefield Park, where it was dedicated to all the native people that once lived in the area.

By 2005, time and vandalism had taken its toll on the Indian Statue. It had been tipped over, and the top and bottom off the bow and arrows in the Indian's hands were broken. The bronze had tarnished, and weathering had begun to pockmark the statue.

The plumbing, which had carried the water to the Indian's hand, had long since stopped working.

The state secured the statue and repaired the fountain, but it was left up to the Warren County Historical Society, The Eastern Woodland Alliance and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation raise the $13,000 needed to refurbish the statue.

Through the contributions of more that 125 donors, the Indian Statue was rededicated on September 17, 2005.

Article compiled by Maureen Kennedy for Warren County Historical Society.

Sources: Caldwell Lake George Library, Lake George Historical Association, A. Phimister Proctor Museum, Poulsbo, WA., Warren County Historical Society.

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