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Kalona Sculpting Foundry Creates President Hoover Statue

Posted: Monday, August 21st, 2017 at 6:25 am
Author: KCII News - Sam McIntosh

Doris Park and Steve Maxon with the clay mold of the Herbert Hoover statue they designed and built for Hoover Elementary School in West Branch. Photo by Sam McIntosh.

A bronze statue of President Hoover was unveiled in his hometown of West Branch this summer.

The sculpture was made by Max-Cast Sculpture and Foundry Services in Kalona, and the owners Doris Park and Steve Maxon have been enshrining historical figures around Iowa and the country since 1983. Park and Maxon were commissioned in January of 2016 to design and create the cast, and Park says she looked at over 50 photos of Hoover’s face to accurately design his likeness, “You can’t just copy a picture anytime really because it’s a 3D thing. So you know I tried to find pictures of both sides of his head, a good profile. I like to have a picture of each of his ears because people’s ears are really kind of different.”

It was a challenge for Park and Maxon to find pictures of Hoover smiling, and the only evidence they found of him smiling were being photographed with his dog. While creating sculptures of figures like Hoover, Abraham Lincoln, Irving Weber, and Hayden Fry, Park and Maxon do intensive research on their lives, making them quite the history buffs as Park says, “We always learn about the person if we’re doing a sculpture of somebody. We go through and read history and their writings and stuff like that. So you end up kind of learning a lot of stuff that’s interesting, like you probably didn’t know that Hoover once had a possum.”

Park and Maxon do a variety of casting work, from 8 foot tall statues, to recreating an antique doorknob. They’re now working on recreating the WWI Doughboy statue that belongs in Appleton, Wisconsin.