Old Photos: Kansas City Between The Hind Legs

On October 25,1954 Life magazine wrote about the installation of the Hereford Sculpture in Kansas City.

A trailer truck rode through Kansas City, Mo. last week bearing a bull destined to achieve great heights. The bull, a Hereford from New Jersey, stands 12 feet high, weighs 5,550 pounds and has plastic flesh atop steel bones. It was designed to stand atop a 90-foot pylon in front of American Hereford Association headquarters near the stockyards. First the association mock-solemnly debated whether the model would present its white fore or its ample rear to nearby Kansas City, Kan, Then the great model was ceremoniously hoisted to its strictly neutral north-south position where, illuminated from within by intestinal neon tubing, it will doubtless provoke countless cornfed jokes about beef being still high.

©Time Inc. Joe Scherschel

©Time Inc. Joe Scherschel

©Time Inc. Joe Scherschel

©Time Inc. Joe Scherschel

©Time Inc. Joe Scherschel

©Time Inc. Joe Scherschel

©Time Inc. Joe Scherschel

Commissioned by the National Hereford Association upon construction of their office building, designed by Joseph Radotinsky. The artist was employed by the sculpture firm of Rochetti & Parzini. Four models were involved in making the bull. Rohm & Hass Company of Philadelphia and Bigelow-Sanford Carpet company assisted with the model. Although plaque gives dedication date as Oct. 16, 1953, reporting source and attached sources give date as Oct. 18, 1954. The National Hereford Association office building was purchased by DST Inc. in 1985. The bull was then renovated by Dale Meyer of the architectural firm of Hays & Meyer. New exterior coating was added, and the interior fluorescent lights were replaced by 188 neon lights. Floodlights were added to the base of the pylon.

  • Anonymous

    If I recall correctly President Eisenhower came to the dedication.   I remember it because my parents took me to my uncles apartment on quality hill which overlooked the site (now gone)… I vaguely remember the top of the Presidents head.

    • It made me think that if I was there, I’d immediately go for the same testicle shot. Also the difference from today is none of the bystanders have cameras.

      • It made me think: I should grill some steak tonight (not including the testicle shot).

  • Orphan of the Road

    Before this there was a stuffed Hereford bull. It was my great-uncle Porter Eubank who owned the bull. He was a prominent breeder of Herefords while my grandfather B, his brother, was an Angus man.

    Thanks for the pictures.

  • Bob

    Poor thing, now relegated to a nearly invisible site.  I rarely even notice it when I drive by.   In that era, I’m sure the testicle photo produced a lively discussion amongst the editorial staff.  There were no testicles back then, you know.   (I’ve not seen the photo before.  Maybe my parents thought Life was just too racy to have in our home.)

    • Not all of those actually made it to print. That’s what’s neat about the archives- they scan everything.