Sculpture recalls days of cowboys and cattle

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HAVING A DRINK: A bronze re-creation of a cattle drive on the original site of the Shawnee Cattle Trail makes for an impressive sight in Dallas.

Most folks think that the Texas cattle drive is a thing of the past. In downtown Dallas, however, the cattle drive lives on in what the Dallas Convention Center de­-scribes as the world’s largest bronze monument.

On the 4.2-acre Pioneer Plaza, artist and Texas native Robert Summers has re-created a cattle drive on the original site of the Shawnee Cattle Trail, a route Texas cattlemen used before the Civil War to drive cattle to the north. Called ‘Trailing Longhorns,’ the monument consists of some 40 life-size bronze longhorn steers being driven by three cowboys on horseback.

Dedicated in 1995, the plaza is definitely worth a visit for those who have not yet seen it. The bronze animals, large and a bit intimidating, can be seen in a natural setting of tall grasses and shady trees as they come down the dusty trail into the heart of Texas. The plaza is downtown Dallas’ largest public open space, and amid the hustle and bustle of the city, it is an awesome sight to see the beasts appearing to rush down a hill for a drink in a small stream. The waterway represents the Trinity River, which often flooded Dallas.

Next to the park is Pioneer Cemetery, which dates back to 1852. This small, historic cemetery, nestled on a small hill, is the final resting place of Texas revolution and Civil War heroes and businessmen. Located here is the oldest outdoor sculpture in the city: a 60-foot Confederate War memorial – made of marble and granite – built in 1896.