The addition of Trail Scout Park and a statue of James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok were supposed to be the final pieces of the latest redevelopment work in east Shawnee.
Now, they’re looking to be some of the first.
One of the newest additions to the Nieman Now project, Trail Scout Park and the statue will be located on the roughly one-half acre plot of land between Stag’s Creek and Commerce Bank just north of Shawnee Mission Parkway.
The statue will depict Hickok, hat in hand and looking back at the wagon train at Pioneer Crossing as if he’s leading the way across Shawnee Mission Parkway. The development of the park is part of Shawnee’s revamping of the stretch of Nieman Road between Shawnee Mission Parkway and Johnson Drive.
‘A theme of history’
Neil Holman, parks and recreation director of Shawnee, said Amino Brothers Construction completed other projects ahead of schedule. While the company waits for utility work to be completed, it decided to begin work on the new park and entryways to the redeveloped area.
“It’s really going to enhance the whole area,” Holman said. “I think it’s really going to tie together, especially with Pioneer Crossing. The whole area, I think, is really going to be a nice addition.
“You’re going to start seeing a theme of history. I just think it’s going to be a nice flow when you come into the city.”
The city earmarked $150,000 for the park and statue.
Passersby can see large stones which will form the base for the statue of “Wild Bill” Hickok. Meanwhile, Charles Goslin, a Shawnee historian who has sculpted the city’s other statues, has begun work on the statue. Once complete, the roughly 15-foot-tall statue will weigh about a ton, Holman added.
The park will also consist of a plaza area with seating and signage displaying the local history of “Wild Bill” Hickok’s days in early Shawnee.
Hickok came to Shawnee in his late teenage years to work for Dick Williams, a local wagon master, Holman said, citing Goslin’s extensive historical research on Shawnee history. Hickok then went to the township of Monticello, where he became a deputy. He then went on to Nebraska and worked at the Rock Creek Station of the Russell, Waddell and Majors Freight Company. It was there he became known as “Wild Bill.”
Holman expects the statue and park to be complete by the end of summer.