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Benito Juarez - Plaza of the Americas, Chicago, IL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member adgorn
N 41° 53.412 W 087° 37.494
16T E 448158 N 4637774
Quick Description: Towering figure of the great Mexican hero Benito Juarez, tucked into the Plaza of the Americas, just off Michigan Avenue over Hubbard Street between the Wrigley Building and the Realtor Building.
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 12/22/2009 8:55:59 AM
Waymark Code: WM7YAN
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member condor1
Views: 2

Long Description:
Benito Juarez [1806-1872] was known as the builder of modern Mexico. He was a Zapotec Amerindian who served five terms as president of Mexico. He helped defend Mexico against the French occupation beginning in 1862, eventually overthrowing the Empire headed by Maximilian of Habsburg and restoring the Republic.

A chronology of the location from research I did -

1) A marker at the east end of the plaza says:

“Plaza of the Americas
Dedicated by
His Excellency Gonzalo J. Facio
Chairman of the Organization of American States
April 20, 1963

2) Excerpted from the Chicago Tribune article dated May 16, 1965 entitled ”Opening rites set Thursday for ‘Plaza of the Americas’”
Built by private enterprise, a joint undertaking of the Wrigley Company to the south and the (former) Apollo Savings and Loan (to the north) at a cost of $250,000. It is lined by the flags of the Organization of American States.

So it looks like the Plaza was dedicated well prior to being completed.

3) On February 15, 1977, a small bust of Benito Juarez was donated by Jose Lopez Portillo, president of Mexico, to the people of Chicago and Michael A. Bilandic,mayor and placed in the Plaza.

This bust is featured in the Smithsonian Art Inventory site for this location. See: (visit link)

At the time of this 1992 survey, the bust looked in need of restoration, probably due to the effects of the harsh Chicago weather and possibly also vandalism. So that probably gave rise to it being replaced.

4) The current statue was dedicated here in February 1999. It weighs 5 tons and is about 16 feet tall. According to several sources, the sculptor was Julian Martinez. From a Chicago Tribune article dated Feb 23, 1999 entitled “Statue Of Mexican Hero Juarez Is Unveiled,” the consul general of Mexico in Chicago, Heriberto M. Galindo, presented the statue of the former Mexican president from the Mexican government to the city of Chicago.

I visited the Plaza on a rainy fall day, not the best time to enjoy this location.

UPDATE 01/11/2010 - I found out from a member of (visit link)
that:
"The bust donated by former president of Mexico Jose Lopez Portillo in 1977, is now at the Benito Juarez High School in Pilsen."
TITLE: Benito Juarez

ARTIST(S): Original - unknown; current - Julian Martinez.

DATE: Original bust dedicated February 15, 1977. Current statue dedicated Feb 22, 1999.

MEDIUM: Bronze statue and granite base

CONTROL NUMBER: IAS 87580162

Direct Link to the Individual Listing in the Smithsonian Art Inventory: [Web Link]

PHYSICAL LOCATION:
Plaza of the Americas 430 North Michigan Avenue Chicago, Illinois at west end of Plaza


DIFFERENCES NOTED BETWEEN THE INVENTORY LISTING AND YOUR OBSERVATIONS AND RESEARCH:
The sculpture (small bust) listed in the database was removed and replaced with a larger than life size statue of the same individual.


Visit Instructions:
Please give the date of your visit, your impressions of the sculpture, and at least ONE ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPH. Add any additional information you may have, particularly any personal observations about the condition of the sculpture.
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