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THE NEW YORK LIFE’S EAGLE

DATE OF EVENT: Wednesday, Feb. 25, 1891

DATE PUBLISHED: Wednesday, Feb. 25, 1891, in The Kansas City Star

Editor’s note: With the completion of the New York Life Building, an eagle statue weighing 2 tons was placed atop the entrance. The nine-story building was the tallest here at the time of its construction and was a modern departure from the Victorian style found throughout the city. The New York Life building would become a city landmark, and its coming has been said to have ushered in the era of skyscrapers here.

With block and tackle, a team of strong horses and half a dozen strong men an immense eagle was induced to perch upon the arch over the entrance to the New York Life building this afternoon. The big bird is represented with outstretched wings and with her foot on an immense snake. At her feet two smaller birds that haven’t seen much of the world are screaming with fright. The group is cast in one piece of bronze and weighs two tons, the eagle’s wings measuring twelve feet from tip to tip. It cost the New York Life Insurance company $3,000. The design is by Augustus St. Gaudens of New York, a sculptor who ranks next to Ward. The cast was made by one of the celebrated bronze molders of New York.

The piece is the insignia of the New York Life company. Three other pieces of the same size were modeled for the company’s buildings at Omaha, St. Paul and Minneapolis.

William R. Mead of McKim, Meade & White, New York, in a letter to Architect Hill, says: “It is a work of art and Kansas City should be proud of it.”

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