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New Pioneer Stands Guard at Kirkwood High School

The Pioneer statue overlooking the track and football field was carved from a dying oak tree.

A 10-foot wooden Pioneer statue stands watch at this year, thanks to a Festus schoolteacher.

Ryan Meyer, a chainsaw sculptor and third-grade teacher at Festus Elementary School, recently turned a dying oak tree into the KHS mascot over the course of two days.

Meyer said he had been carving wood in his Crystal City shop, The Wood Den, for the last 10 years but also travels around the St. Louis area to create custom sculptures out of tree stumps. This summer he produced about 35 of them, including bears, eagles, Indians, lighthouses and more.

“I have done quite a few carvings in the Kirkwood-Webster area,” he said.

He said the school district contacted him about the dying oak near the track and football field. Carving the tree cost the district less than removing it and grinding out the stump, he said.

“I enjoyed doing it because the last six or seven carvings before that were animals so it was nice to be challenged with a person,” he said.

He said the sculpture, which was finished in time for the first home football game last week, could last as long as 30 or 40 years.

Editor's Note:

We love the arts at Kirkwood Patch. Check out some of our past features on local artist and tell us who we should profile next.

Ron G. September 07, 2011 at 03:59 PM
Really nice!...I love when they utilize existing structures, even an old tree stump, into something of beauty, rather than tearing it down. I noticed Kirkwood Power utilized the existing dead tree just south of the high school near geyer, rather than putting in a utility pole. Thats the charm of Kirkwood, save the old or refurbish, rather than tear it down.... like they want do with the Mobil Expansion on Manchester!
Cindy Bambini September 08, 2011 at 02:24 AM
Thanks Lori!

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