A Bedford Stone Carver’s Artistry

ANISE E. HART

DEAR PARENTS WITH A

REVERENT HAND,

THIS TO THY MEMORY GIVEN

WHILE ONE BY ONE THY

HOUSEHOLD BAND,

GOD REUNITES IN HEAVEN.

(On the front of the gravestone)

 

Anise E. Hart

September 28, 1897

July 28, 1909

(on a separate gravestone next to the monument)

 

JAMES F. HART

JAN. 1, 1861 – JAN. 28, 1922

ALICE C. HART

FEB. 20, 1865 – MAR. 10, 1931

(On the back of the gravestone)

 

In the book, Guardians of the Soul: Angels and Innocents, Mourners and Saints—Indiana’s Remarkable Cemetery Sculpture, by John Bower, the author writes eloquently about the sculptures of children that are found in cemeteries that dot the countryside.  “Without a doubt, the statues of children are the most poignant I’ve come across in cemeteries.  These innocents who were supposed to outlive their parents, but didn’t—having passed away on, barely tasting life—leave a deep, enduring ache in the hearts of those left behind.”

Bedford, Indiana, is the home of many limestone quarries and also the home of many very fine stone carvers.  One of those talented carvers was Ira Correll.

The August 27, 1978, Indianapolis Star article by PHYLLIS J. REED, read, “The talents of Bedford’s stone sculptors were eagerly sought by leading architects and builders of yesteryear who wanted to adorn their structures with classical beauty. One of the most distinguished names among this elite group of artisans was Correll. This family’s art spans more than 100 years and can be found in cities nationwide. Hoosier born Ross Correll, now 81, makes his home in Houston, Texas, and still recalls those early days when he trained under the guidance of his grandfather, George Paul Correll, his father, Ira, and his two uncles. “My father carved hundreds of Civil War soldiers when I was a youngster both Yanks and Rebels. They were so beautifully lifelike that they would take my breath away,” he muses.  He also carved the figure of 12-year old Anise E. Hart in 1909, which was erected in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Montgomery, Indiana.

According to the Smithsonian Save Outdoor Art, Indiana Survey, the limestone statue of the young girl was carved by Correll from a photograph of Anise.

The description from the Smithsonian survey describes the statue as “wearing a dress, a layered blouse with fluffed sleaves, a belt, high-laced shoes, and a bracelet on her proper left wrist. Her hair is in long ringlets, caught with a bow in the back. She holds a small bunch of roses in her proper right hand.”  The limestone figure stands upon a red granite base decorated with small Corinthian columns, and a cross.

Other examples of Ira Correll’s work are:

  • Statue of Abraham Lincoln for the Old Settler’s Park in Odon, Indiana
  • The Boy’s Town statue at Omaha, Nebraska, of a boy carrying another lad on his back, inscribed ‘He ain’t heavy he’s my brother.’
  • Two Texas Rangers for the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame in Austin
  • Statue of Stephen Austin at the Texas Statehouse
  • And countless statues, including Civil War soldiers who fought for the North and those who fought for the South

Roy Bear, another well-known and highly-regarded Bedford stone carver, and Ira Correll partnered for several years in the late 20s and early 30s to create other architectural monuments and statues:

  • A dozen Grecian Ionic capitals on fluted columns were made for the Art Museum of Houston, Texas;
  • Four large Egyptian-style murals for the Athletic Club in Chicago, Illinois
  • Four great eagles for a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, bridge
  • The Benjamin Franklin Memorial on the Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with full-dressed Corinthian capitals on fluted columns

The work of artists like Roy Bear and Ira Correll can be found all throughout Indiana and the United States.

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