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Pettigrew: A Decade In The Making

May 16, 2013, 7:25 AM by Austin Hoffman

Pettigrew: A Decade In The Making

It has been nearly a decade in the making and soon one of the pioneers of Sioux Falls and South Dakota will take a seat in time at the gates of Falls Park

If you've never heard of Richard F. Pettigrew, he was our states first full term Senator after South Dakota received its statehood in 1889.
Now, almost a century and half later, a bronze state will be unveiled in his honor. 

"By the end of this year it would have been a full 10 years," sculptor, Darwin Wolf, said.

Nearly a decade ago, Wolf embarked on a journey to give a monument to a man he admittedly knew almost nothing about.

"At the time I didn't know who Pettigrew was and I really couldn't care less. My main intent was to give the city a possible landmark and it seemed odd that we didn't have a monument of Pettigrew since everybody talked about him so much," Wolf said.

It didn't take long for Wolf to understand there was much more behind Pettigrew than a future statue. He says the pioneer was a visionary for Sioux Falls and South Dakota. 

The statue started as a 24 inch model and then Wolf sculpted a 10 foot clay version that would eventually become what we'll see Friday.

"From my thumb prints down to every little detail, it’s there. The bronze is cast in pieces, it’s right now being welded up and the finished chasing is being done. And then the final step is patina which is a chemical and heat treatment to give the bronze an even coloration," Wolf said.

He says Friday will be a hard day. In his words, the prize isn't in the destination, it's in the trip.

"Because the relationships that I've built and the people I'm around all the time now. You just don't seem to be around those folks, we move on to different projects. That’s going to be kind of sad. I'll be a little bit terrorized because my goal is just to make sure that it’s good enough, is good enough for what this piece should represent and what it should be for our community and that’s one of my biggest fears," Wolf said.

The unveiling will be near Phillips and 5th street in Sioux Falls at the gates to Falls Park, Friday morning at 11:30 a.m.

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