Even less than two handfuls away from the century mark Byron Constance, knows he has plenty to contribute to the city of Independence.
The longtime attorney and also a banker and developer, who still practices law at age 92, decided he could help correct a deficiency. For a city of its history and related cultural attractions, he says, Independence is “woefully short” of public art that commemorates that heritage.
Friday, at the corner of Lexington Avenue and Pleasant Street outside his office, Constance unveiled a life-size bronze statue, “Call of the West.”
It marked the beginning of a notable weekend for Constance, who earlier this year created a commissioned bronze bust of Andrew Drumm, the founder of Drumm Farm Center for Children. Drumm Farm hosts its big century celebration today.
Regarding his newest work, Constance said he tried to create an image of an 1840s man standing at what was then the very west edge of Independence.
“He may just be the husband of the Pioneer Woman,” he said referring to the statue in place at the National Frontier Trails Museum a few blocks away.
The man, “Hiram,” is depicted carrying a Hawkins percussion rifle, a powder horn on one hip and a pouch on his other hip with bullets and other paraphernalia.
“He's well-suited for the journey and anxious to get going,” Constance said.
The 350-pound statue is a cast of a silicon bronze alloy that's about 3/16 of an inch thick. It's anchored into a limestone rock using all-thread stainless steel and a bonding agent. A crew led by John Sheehy of Summit Masonry hoisted the statue into place.
Constance, who took up sculpting in his late 60s, says he hopes his effort will encourage other in Independence's arts and business community to find their open opportunities to celebrate the city's history.
“It speaks to the great heritage of Independence,” he said.