Posts Tagged ‘Women’s Museum’


The Women's Museum and the statue that prompted a question.

“There’s something that’s been bugging us Texans. And it’s time that we set the record straight … There ain’t no saguaro in Texas. It’s not the kind of cactus we’ve got.” Rev. Horton Heat


It’s always been my belief that every question deserves an answer. So today I’m going to answer the one from a reader who commented on the photograph of a statue that went with my Jan. 10th blog about the Women’s Museum in Dallas.

The statue features a woman atop a huge saguaro cactus, and the question was: “Do saguaro cacti grow in Texas?” Honky-Tonk comic singer Rev. Horton Heat says; ”No.” The plant experts agree, but with an addendum: No wild saguaro grow in Texas.

You might be able to forgive Rauol Jossett, the statue’s creator. He was a native Frenchman, who carved the plaster and cement statue in 1935, just two years after immigrating to the United States. Perhaps he got his idea from western movies of the period that featured huge saguaro in their supposedly Texas backdrops. Or maybe he copied the idea from other artists whose work depicts the huge armed cacti in their Texas landscapes.

No wonder Horton Heat wanted to set the record straight.

The Centennial Building and another of Raoul Jossett's giant ladies found at Dallas Fair Park

But now that I’ve answered the reader’s question, let me tell you what else I learned in my research. The Women’s Museum statue is called “Spirit of the Centennial.” It was created as part of the renovations to turn a 1910, double-duty stock coliseum-by-day/music-hall-by-night building into an administration building for Texas’ 1936 Centennial Celebration.

The model for Jossett’s sculpture was Georgia Carroll, the lead singer for the Kay Kyser Band. She later became the band leader’s wife and an actress. She just died earlier this month.

The administration building was converted into the Women’s Museum in 2000, and is located in Dallas’ Fair Park, where a stroll through its Texas sized, 277-acre grounds can turn up six other giant-sized ladies created by Jossett. Let me know if you find them all.

Meanwhile, I love questions. Anybody else with one?

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Statue outside entrance to Women's Museum in Dallas -- Photo by Pat Bean

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” — Eleanor Roosevelt.

Travels With Maggie

Hank Williams Jr. loves ’em. I’m talking, of course, about Texas women. But while he prefers them in jeans, I prefer them strong like Texas Governor Anne Richards or Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, both of whom so aptly set a path for Texas women to follow before their deaths.

I like to think of myself as sharing a gene or two in common with them, and also with another of my Texas female heroes, the late outspoken Texas political columnist Molly Ivins, who was mistakenly born in California.

I understood her dilemma from the opposite direction. Utah claimed me for much of the latter half my life, And while I loved its spectacular mountain scenery, I continued to know I was a Texas woman – from the tips of my short blonde hair to the nail on my crooked little toe.

If you’re in the neighborhood of Dallas, where my RV is parked in front of my oldest daughter’s home for the next few days, and want to learn more about strong Texas women – and those from other states as well – you should drop by the Women’s Museum, a permanent exhibit located in Fair Park, home to the Texas State Fair.

My daughter and I did just that, spending several hours roaming the museum’s 70,000 square feet of exhibits that bring to life the contributions of women to this nation’s history. Opened in 2000 in affiliation with the Smithsonian, the museum began as a dream of one woman, Cathy Bonner, and a reality through the financial support of tens of thousands of mostly female supporters.

If you visit before April 10, you can even catch a special exhibit put together by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz and  simply entitled “Women.” The recommendation of this Texas woman is that you should go.

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