Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina. Part 4. Other Park Features

Click here for the first post in this series and the table of contents.

statue 1Andrew Jackson State Park offers the visitor so much to see and experience that I’ve made reservations for another visit next week! Not the usual practice. Usually five days is enough. But not here. So, I’ll have more detail on the museum, the late 18th century school house exhibit, and other sources of information about President Andrew Jackson in later posts.

theater 1But before ending this visit I have to mention two more outstanding features of this Park: the statue of young Andrew Jackson by Sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, and the amphitheater. Either of these alone would justify a visit to the Park. First, the statue.

statue 2Those of you who have visited Brookgreen Gardens, across the road from Huntington Beach State Park, know Anna Huntington’s work. She was, by any measure, a remarkable artist. And there’s an interesting story behind Huntington’s interpretation of young Andrew Jackson here.

lettersThe idea for the statue came from a class at Lancaster County’s Rice Elementary School. The class, undoubtedly with the encouragement of their teacher, Nancy Crockett, wrote the celebrated Huntington to ask if she would create a statue of Jackson as a young man. Probably because Jackson lived in South Carolina only as a child and teenager.

statue 4Huntington by then was in her late 80s! Still, she accepted the commission. Her last major work. With the proviso that the community would pay for the statue’s huge granite base.

ahj and statueThe statue was completed, mounted on its base, and ready for exhibition at the celebration of Andrew Jackson’s 200th birthday, March 15, 1967. Atop an enormous pink granite base paid for with the pennies, nickels, and dimes of Lancaster County schoolchildren.

statue 3Now, I’m no artist or art critic, as you well know. But I can’t imagine anyone who knew the least thing about horses not being amazed by this statue. I mean! You want to go over and pat that horse!

statue 5Jackson sits, one leg thrown over the horse, gazing out with an energy and intensity that’s magnetic. Be prepared to stay a while when you walk over to view this remarkable piece of sculpture.

amph 1It’s easy to miss Andrew Jackson State Park’s Joseph H. Croxton Amphitheater. That’s because it blends so smoothly with its natural surrounding. But be sure not to miss it. Take a walk down this path even if no program is being offered.

theater 1It’s an all-wood, or mostly wood, structure. With a stage and backstage facilities at the front.

seatingSeating rises in tiers back toward the Park Office and Museum. Not a bad seat in the house.

seating 2Janie and I tested the acoustics and found them surprisingly good for an outdoor amphitheater. Must have been planned in when constructed.

theater 3I’ve yet to see a program, but a wide variety of musical types are presented. Everything from Gospel to rock ‘n roll. Even including bluegrass.  Oh my!

Well, that’s all for now. Next week, back to Andrew Jackson State Park to learn more about the museum and hopefully do an interview or two. So stay tuned.

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