What was that weird statue in downtown Dallas?
It is the second of these bizarre statues to appear in the city. The first, which claimed that Dallas’ founding father was in part a cephalopod, appeared in 2019.
DALLAS Something fishy is going on in downtown Dallas.
A mysterious statue claiming to represent the Dallas pioneer of the 1800s, Sarah Horton Cockrell, was placed in the Pioneer Park cemetery near the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center around 10:30 a.m. Monday. (Convention center security guards themselves discovered the guerrilla installation later that day, but were able to locate its arrival after reviewing footage from the park’s cameras.)
The statue was placed on the same concrete slab that once stood beneath the 65-foot-high Confederate War Memorial that the city removed from the park in June 2020.
A plaque, which accompanied the new statue, claimed it was the work of an anonymous Dallas artist named Solomon, and a donation to the city of Dallas by the late local oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens.
A notable Dallas historical figure worthy of his own honor, Cockrell – depicted in the statue with the body of a human woman and the head of an octopus – was born in Virginia in 1819 and moved to Dallas with her family in 1844. Known As “Dallas’ first capitalist,” she was involved in many economic and technological advancements in the city, including a suspension bridge that spanned the Trinity River.
The plaque under the new statue apparently representing her mentions it, among other things.
“If Sarah Horton Cockrell met the real Dallas namesake on her 33rd birthday, how could she tactfully manage? [sic]? “said the plaque of the statue.” Why her? Why that night at this crossing of this particular bend in the Trinity? The facts offer little answer: Subsequently, she refused to sleep, wandering the dark city that she largely owned, inventing new ways to take advantage of the thresholds. Was his wealth then his by fate or by compulsion? Perhaps our city’s love / hate relationship with the tolls arose that night, reverberating beyond the levies of its fate. Her Trinity Toll Bridge still appealing to Sarah’s debts on another plane, a bigger and more lasting memorial than the one the other girls in our town have built. If so, well, hey Sarah, daughter of unspeakable monarchs, hand that commands the pursuit of eternity [sic]. “
The Cockrell statue plaque included a few additional items, including a Dallas misspelling as “D’llas” under the city logo in its lower corner, and a series of Cistercian monk numbers representing a Google Voice phone number Who’s playing a cryptic and vague recording when composing.
This isn’t the first time that a curious work of art of this ilk has suddenly appeared in downtown Dallas.
In October 2019, a similar statue – also apparently made by the same artist of Solomon – was mysteriously installed along a stretch of road below the convention center. This piece, which was removed almost as quickly as it appeared, claimed that the founder of the city of Dallas, John Neely Bryan, was in part a cephalopod. (More intrigues followed.)
The 2019 statue of Bryan boasted of a similarly-worded (and often misspelled) plaque about his life, and also claimed Dallas was a “shared illusion.”
After its removal, the Bryan statue was placed in storage by the City of Dallas Arts and Culture Office.
The Cockrell statue was removed just as quickly because, as the security guards who surrounded her in the morning noted, her arrival was “unauthorized”.
By early Monday evening, the statue – which had been screwed into the concrete below – had been removed from the site.
As to who was behind the placement of the statue in the park? Security guards said they weren’t sure. They said the footage they saw showed four people placing him there, but also said their camera’s point of view was partially blocked by a curtain.
Thus, for the moment, the identity of the culprits remains a mystery.
It’s a (maybe) developing story. It has also been updated to reflect the removal of the statue.