Massachusetts’ wild history is commemorated in statues all over the state. Many of these statues are dedicated to people or particular events. But there are plenty of others that depict animals. Here are five things you didn’t know about animal statues in Massachusetts.
1. The Grasshopper Weathervane
Way up top of Faneuil Hall sits a golden grasshopper weathervane. With a few exceptions, it has been there since 1742. One of those exceptions was January of 1974, when a former steeplejack at Faneuil Hall managed to steal the weathervane and hide it in a corner of the building’s tower. Authorities speculated that the thief had planned to hold the golden grasshopper for ransom. His plan unraveled shortly after he was picked up in Abington on drug charges. In an effort to land a plea deal, he started chirping like a cricket. The grasshopper was recovered shortly thereafter.
2. Plastic Pink Flamingos
They’re featured on the cover of a book of college pranks, they’ve banned by many homeowner associations, and believe it or not, plastic pink flamingos were invented in Massachusetts. Back in 1957, Massachusetts native Donald Featherstone was working for Union Products in Leominster when he achieved eternal notoriety by creating the plastic pink flamingo lawn ornament/statue. In 1996, Featherstone was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for Art for his creation.
3. Jumbo The Elephant
Jumbo the elephant was one of PT Barnum’s famous show elephants. After the elephant was hit and killed by a train in 1885, Barnum had it stuffed. He eventually donated the stuffed Jumbo to Tufts University in Medford. A fire in 1975 destroyed the stuffed Jumbo. Ashes from the fire – which likely included some of the elephant’s remains – were put in a Peter Pan Crunchy Peanut Butter jar and stashed in the athletic director’s office. They’re still there… and Jumbo remains as Tufts’ mascot. A statue of Jumbo (pictured) sits outside Tufts’ Barnum Hall.
4. Statues of Seuss
Out in Springfield, there’s a national memorial sculpture garden that features a cat, a turtle, an elephant, a moose, a lorax, and many other real and made-up creatures. The memorial honors Springfield native son Theodor Seuss Geisel – Dr. Seuss. Sculptor Lark Grey Dimond-Cates was created the bronze sculptures of Dr. Seuss and his characters. She knew those characters all too well. Diamond-Cates was Dr. Seuss’ step-daughter.
5. Make Way For Ducklings
The Make Way For Ducklings statue has been a hugely popular attraction inside the Public Garden since its installation in 1987. In 26 years, the bronze statues of Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, Quack and Mrs. Mallard have never been professionally polished. However, they’ve managed to keep their shine thanks to the thousands of children who double as natural polishing buffers by climbing on them year round.