Windsor Premier: Bronze statue depicting Windsor’s historical roots will be unveiled this summer | MyWindsorNow.com
by Trevor Reid
For Windsor Premier

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Windsor Premier: Bronze statue depicting Windsor’s historical roots will be unveiled this summer

After more than two years of fundraising and planning, the Windsor-Severance Historical Society has set a June 29 date to unveil a new bronze monument to Windsor's historical roots.

The 8-foot monument will feature the core elements that started Windsor and helped build the town's population in its early years. Historical Society Vice President Marge Straube said the monument is intended to educate Windsor's rising population.

"It's important that people know where you come from and why your community is what it is," Straube said. "Windsor's history is water, family and the sugar beet."

With $150,000 raised, the monument includes a man working a water pump, with his son and daughter next to him. The daughter is holding a large sugar beet, symbolizing the importance of the sugar beet industry to the early development of Windsor.

When early settlers in Windsor realized nearby towns were growing by getting involved with the sugar beet industry, they encouraged Windsor farmers to plant sugar beets so a plant could come to the town. In 1903, a sugar beet processing plant was established in Windsor, sparking growth and employing a large percentage of the work force.

Historical Society secretary Sue Buxmann said the monument is a tribute to the hard-working people who made Windsor into what it is today.

"We wanted to recognize how important the immigrants were that came in here and helped with the back-breaking labor. And the family unit that worked so hard," she said.

As the Historical Society neared its fundraising goal through outreach, more and more people started to wonder: where is the mother?

In response to the growing interest, the artist sculpting the monument, 27-year-old Austin Weishel, sculpted a model of what the statue of the mother would look like. To him, the inclusion of the mother is vital to recognize the full family unit that helped build Windsor.

"People will question, 'Where was the mom?' And they were out there in the fields helping out. They were a huge part, just as much as the man was," he said.

The Historical Society now hopes to raise an extra $70,000 to include the mother. If they can raise the amount by May, they'll be able to save some money in bronze foundry fees by completing the entire monument at once. The Historical Society board has said that if someone can donate the entire amount needed, the donor will be able to name the mother.

No stranger to Windsor, Weishel moved to the town with his family when he was just 6 or 7 years old. His sculpture "Follow Your Heart" is housed in front of the Windsor Fire Department on 7th Street. When he's not sculpting, Weishel is a volunteer firefighter for Windsor.

Weishel's passion for sculpting began when he was just 14 years old. Someone gave him a piece of clay and asked him to bring a sculpture back in a year.

"I went back to my grandparents' house, where they lived (in Prescott, Ariz.) and, with a fork and a knife, I started my first sculpture," he explained.

Since then, Weishel's work has appeared across the country. He's been featured in magazines and on the Today Show. In 2014, one of his works was voted top monument of Washington, D.C., by the Washington Post.

Weishel explained the bronze sculpture process while in his Loveland studio. Foam and steel give the full-size clay models inner support. The clay Weishel uses never dries, so he can continue to work on details. He's been working on the clay sculptures for this project since early last year. The clay for the father alone costs about $4,000. After finishing the clay models, a rubber mold with a hard outer shell goes over portions of the clay.

The bronze process requires the molds to be done in separate pieces. Melted wax is then poured into the molds until the wax reaches the necessary thickness. Once a hollow wax sculpture is made for each part, those sculptures are then dipped in silica sand. After reaching the required thickness, the wax is melted out as the shell mold is hardened.

From the shell molds, each piece of the bronze sculpture is created at a bronze foundry. The pieces are then welded together, and the welded areas are sanded down so the final sculpture shows no signs of welding. The arms, hands and pump of the father will need to be split up into about 15 different pieces, Weishel explained.

More than $70,000 for the monument came from grants from the Poudre Heritage Alliance and Windsor. The rest was raised by more than 100 donors.

To be placed in Boardwalk Park, the monument will face south, with Windsor Lake in the background. If the money required for the mother is not raised by May, there will be a place left for her inclusion at a later date.

Mayor Kristie Melendez said she hopes the monument will spark more interest in public art in Windsor.

"This is the very first commissioned art piece that Windsor's ever had done," she said. "This is the start of what I hope will be some additional public art that will transpire and become a part of our community."

Donate to the Historical Society

The Historical Society is still seeking donations in order to include the mother in the monument.

Donors of $5,000 or more will have their names placed on a plaque beneath the monument. If someone donates the full $70,000 for the mother, the donor gets to name her.

Windsor-Severance Historical Society is an official 501(c)(3) non-profit, so all donations are tax-deductible.

To donate, visit their website, http://www.thewshs.org or go to their Facebook page, Windsor-Severance Historical Society, for more information.

Austin Weishel

To see more of Weishel’s work, click here.

Small sculptures of the monument will be available through Weishel for a limited time.