How old is Plankinton Statue? 144, 129 or just 120 years old?

Plankinton Statue dated to 1883

Date of Plankinton statue is in dispute. Many sources claim the statue is 144 years old (1868), but it is more likely to have been created during the mid 1880’s when the sculptor, R. H. Park, was in Milwaukee creating two other public monuments. Or it could have been created later, after John Plankinton’s death in 1891.

I’ve linked to an article that claims Elizabeth Plankinton, John’s daughter, discovered the sculptor in Florence, Italy, and dates an R.H. Park bust (not a full-length statue) of Plankinton to 1883. Since Elizabeth was born in 1853 and would have been only 15 years old in 1868, this casts doubt on its age being 144 years.

Another source hints that it could be even younger. I found a paragraph about the Plankinton House in an 1892 publication, Milwaukee’s Great Industries that implies that the bronze statue was “recently” placed after Plankinton’s death as a “tribute to the memory of the man who made the house popular.”

Stay tuned as I seek the definitive source!

About Ruth Page Jones

I am an independent Historian, writing and speaking on topics about community, the Midwest, and Woman Suffrage. I created this account as a Graduate Student UW Milwaukee. I graduated in December of 2015.
This entry was posted in All things Plankinton, Elizabeth Plankinton, RPJ Histories. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How old is Plankinton Statue? 144, 129 or just 120 years old?

  1. Ben says:

    Was Elizabeth Plankinton engaged to R.H. Park? I read some new stories that said he ran away with a dancer and that is why she never lived in the house her father built her.

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