Saturday, 23rd July 2016
When you say "Blackhawk Statue," generally it would refer to the world-renowned Chicago Hockey team's statue located in United Center (an indoor sports arena in Chicago). But little have known that there's a picturesque site on a hill along the Rock River in the of town of Oregon in Illinois called the Blackhawk Statue.
I have no idea about this tourist spot not until hubby, and I saw one of the episodes of the TV series "Aerial America" featuring Illinois. I was awed the way they captured it from the top using a helicopter where the sculpture stands surrounded by trees along the river. This statue portrays as an American Indian in a long blanket staring over the Rock River with folded arms. I did some research then I discovered that the structure is in Lowden State Park, and it's just one hour and a half (1.5 hours) drive away.
The Blackhawk statue or also known as "The Eternal Indian" was built as a tribute to all Native American Indians, but it was more focused on the story about Chief Black Hawk. After the Black Hawk War as the chief decided to leave the area, he told his captors to take care of the land where he and his people once owned and to share the beauty of it to all people.
Lorado Taft and his team created this stunning work of art measures 50-foot high and estimated to weigh 100 tons and was considered as the second-largest concrete monolithic statue in the world. He started constructing this project in 1908 on the ground of Eagle's Nest Art Colony, a campus for Chicago Artists founded by Taft. When Taft and several of his students and associates was running out of funds, Governor Frank Lowden took action to make sure the completion of the project. The statue was dedicated on July 1, 1911. Currently, the Art Colony is now named Lowden State Park, a memorial for Gov. Frank Lowden who served Illinois during the WWI.
On an early Saturday morning, we drove and reached past 09:00 am in Oregon, Illinois. We found the Rock River as we made a quick tour around town. On our way to Lowden State Park, we passed another park situated along the river called "Oregon Park East". I excitedly told hubby and my mom, "that will be our second destination for today, we should do a quck stop there later!". As we continued our way, it left so amazing to get in touch with nature again and see riverbanks, trees and camping sites. With just three miles from the town, we finally arrived at Lowden State Park. We slowly drove to a secluded area looking for parking and can't help but noticed the campground, playground, picnic shelters and trails. First, we went to the Park Office and inquired the Park Ranger about the car parks and the statue. He said we could park near the statue and at the park office. After we had taken a copy of the park's pamphlet at the office, we walked towards tthe trail that led us to the Blackhawk statue.
From TV screen I've finally met this "astig" (cool) icon. While enjoying the beautiful view, it was also time for us to relax and to take as many pictures as we can. Click here and there. My mom also tried her new phone, taking selfies. Few meters away from the statue is this 100-step wooden staircase down to the Rock River. We went down (except for Mom) and was so excited to get a glimpse of the river. Stayed couple of minutes along the river banks to take pictures. I tell you the climb back up was so exhausting that it almost get me fainted. That bench near the statue saved my day!
There are still a lot of things to do in Lowden State Park, like pickining, camping, boating, fishing or just hiking through almost 4 miles of foot trails. Hoping for our next visit, we can do more. See more pictures of the Lowden State Park here.
Lowden State Park
1411 N River Rd, Oregon, IL USA 61061