Brochure Spring 2019 - Page 9

PLACES of the Glenview Park District Discover more about the Glenview Park District facilities, parks and program sites for recreation, preservation, nature, history and education. NEW GROVE SCULPTURE IS SHAPED BY HISTORY Today’s commuters find their way around by looking at cell phone apps and man-made street signs. Before such things existed, people used nature to get from point A to point B. Native Americans created navigational markers from trees in the woods. These living wayfinders were typically oak or maple trees, chosen for their flexibility and longevity. Indigenous people would bend a sapling and secure it to a stake, forcing it to grow perpendicular to the ground in the direction of a path or trail. A horizontal tree trunk was easy to spot in the woods where everything else grows vertically. Illinois was the first state to report the finding of trail marker trees in the early 1800s. Many are now recognized as historic landmarks. Their use varied from tribe to tribe, but often, trail marker trees were there to point out a fresh water source off a main route. For the past 18 years, well-known historian and artist Dennis Downes, who grew up in the Glenview area, has brought attention to these early road signs through his annual solo art show at The Grove Redfield Estate, donating a portion of sales from the show to The Grove Heritage Association. Now, Downes has been commissioned to create a tree marker sculpture at The Grove. The sculpture is a fitting tribute to the culture and history of the native people who lived here over 200 years ago. A portage trail went through the area, linking the Des Plaines and Chicago Rivers. Native Americans would canoe down one, then carry their canoe and follow the portage trail to get to the other river. Trail marker trees guided them along the way. The one designed by Downes for The Grove will be 16’ tall and made of steel and resin. The Grove Heritage Association, The Grove’s non-profit citizen support group, is funding the purchase and donating the sculpture to the Glenview Park District. Dennis Downes and Hilda “Little Fawn” Williams “We want to give people the experience of what it was like to come upon a trail marker tree. This one will be very life like and we expect people to be walking along and see it and wonder if it’s real,” said Lorin Ottlinger, The Grove Director. The tree will be located near the trail intersection west of the Interpretive Center, where it will blend in with the surrounding woods. Vines may eventually grow all around it. A plaque will explain the meaning of trail marker trees and how much they meant to those who used them. Downes will attend the installation ceremony at noon on March 30, along with Ottawa tribe elder Hilda “Little Fawn” Williams and a Native American drummer. Cherokee elder Andrew Johnson, executive director for the Native American Chamber of Commerce in Illinois, will perform a “smudging,” a traditional Native American blessing ritual. Lake County archaeologist Dan Malone, Downes’ wife Gail Spreen and representatives from The Grove Heritage Association and the park district will also speak. The event is free and open to the public. With this latest project, the Glenview Park District furthers its commitment to supporting public artwork, providing opportunities for learning, beauty, art and culture for all. Just last year, Flick Park was chosen for the district’s first outdoor art installation. The 10’ tall brushed aluminum sculpture of a tree is topped by a beautiful glass bird protecting her nest. PLACES ▪ 5