"The Frontier Prophet" sculpted by Dee Jay Bawden
(New York City, New York -- December 20, 2005) By Claudia Bushman
On Sunday morning at 10 a.m. an eight foot statue of Joseph Smith, in his New York identity as "The Frontier Prophet" was installed in downtown Manhattan, near Wall Street. The statue will be dedicated on December 23rd at 4 p.m., the 200th anniversary of Smith's birthday with a ceremony of music, talks, and a dedicatory prayer at the site.
The location in Old Slip Park is significant for its LDS connections. In October 1832, Smith visited New York City and resided at 88 Pearl Street. While there, he wrote to his wife Emma Smith, "the buildings are truly great and wonderful to the astonishing of every beholder." He should see them now. Pearl Street is only two blocks away from the Old Slip site.
The site is also significant because on February 4, 1846, the ship Brooklyn sailed away from Old Slip bearing more than 200 LDS men, women, and children. Under the direction of Samuel Brannan, the group traveled south, rounded Cape Horn and then sailed back up the western coasts of South and North America, stopping at Hawaii and landing at Yerba Buena, later San Francisco. February 4th was, by coincidence, the same day the Latter-day Saints left Nauvoo to begin their overland migration.
The installation of "The Frontier Prophet" has the support of the City of New York department of Parks & Recreation and is erected under the Temporary Public Outdoor Art Program. The statue will remain in place until June 18th, 2006. The "Frontier Prophet" was sculpted by Dee Jay Bawden in 2005 and erected to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith's birth by the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation and the New York New York Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The morning after the installation in this heavily trafficked area of the Financial District, about three or every four people passing by stopped to look at the statue and read the plaque information.