Susan Magoffin

Magoffin Family Santa Fe-Chihuahua Trail Monument

On July 29, 2009, the bronze maquette of Susan Shelby Magoffin was publicly unveiled in downtown El Paso at the Doubletree Hotel. The public event officially inaugurated the monument's public involvement, community education, project promotion and fundraising. The next day, ironically on the birthday of Susan Magoffin, the sculptors spoke at the Encaustic International Art Gallery and Studio in El Paso where the bronze maquette and the bas-relief (clay sketch) were featured. The new project orientation binder and brochure were prepared and published by the executive board to introduce and promote the next two monuments and to assist fundraising - Magoffin Family Santa Fe-Chihuahua Trail Monument, and the Benito Juárez Monument. Work commenced on finalizing the design for the bas-relief plaque of James Wiley Magoffin and his wife, María Gertrudis Valdez. Initially, two clay plaques were created (one circular and other rectangular) before the third and final design was made, which is much larger than its two predecessors. In addition, a bust of Susan Magoffin was created to assist the monument's development.

Public Exhibits/Educational Programs - El Paso (TX), Santa Fe (NM) and Larend, (KS)

In 2009 and 2010, XII Travelers Board members presented the Susan Shelby Magoffin maquette to the El Paso public at seven community outreach programs. These presentations, sponsored by civic organizations, were attended by hundreds of viewers. One presentation was at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Texas at El Paso. Women are enthusiastic that a woman of historical significance will be honored in the third statue of the XII Travelers series. The creation of the Magoffin Monument has received local television and newspaper coverage and was featured on the renowned educational radio program produced by the historian, Leon Metz, and the videographer, Jackson Polk. Over 45,000 El Pasoans have viewed the creative progress of the Magoffin Monument at public events that began with the display of the concept maquette (three Kermezaar exhibits), followed by exhibitions of the bronze maquette in three states, and recently with the Open Studio presentations that featured the completed enlargement and bas-relief. This year, 2010, witnessed the completion of the full-scale enlargement of the Susan Magoffin statue and the finished bas-relief plaque of James Magoffin and Ma. Gertrudis Valdez. The molds for the enlargement and the plaque were achieved at the end of December 2010. On July 10, 2010, John Houser and the XII Travelers board gave a public presentation at the El Paso Public Library auditorium in celebration of Tom Lea Month. At this event, the maquette was featured as well as an image of the bas-relief. The maquette was then exhibited at the Adair Margo Gallery (downtown El Paso), where it has remained on display at that gallery. Adair Margo is taking an activity part in assisting project promotion and fundraising.

In 2010, two Open Studio programs were held in Santa Fe that featured the completed enlargement of Susan Magoffin (writing her diary with Mr. Ring, her faithful greyhound dog, at her side) and the completed bas-relief plaque of James Magoffin and his wife, María Gertrudis Valdez. At both events, the sculptors addressed the importance of the Magoffin family to the history of the Santa Fe-Chihuahua Trail, El Paso, and Santa Fe. They described the creative processes of making the monument. The first sculptors' Open Studio was held on July 30th in celebration of Susan Shelby Magoffin's birthday. Residents of New Mexico, Colorado, and the El Paso and the Las Cruces areas attended the exhibit and presentation. The second Open Studio, held on September 11th, included a special presentation by Dr. Rick Hendricks, State Historian of New Mexico, who discussed the historical significance of Susan Magoffin's diary and the Magoffin family to the history of the Santa Fe-Chihuahua Trail. Officers and members of the Santa Fe Trail Association attended that event. Two months later, the organization exhibited the Magoffin Maquette at their annual conference in Larned, Kansas. The association highlighted the creation of the Magoffin Family Santa Fe-Chihuahua Trail Monument on their official website and newsletter.

A Gift to the City of El Paso

During the year, 2010, the project received private donations to help sustain the monument's development. The board is actively involved in fund-raising to cover major production phases and related expenses for enlarging and mold making. It is the commitment of the XII Travelers Executive Board, the sculptors and civic-minded donors that the Magoffin Family Santa Fe-Chihuahua Trail Monument be a gift to the City of El Paso.

The Huthsteiner Fine Arts Trust, three years ago, generously approved a grant of $50,000 for the bronze casting for the Magoffin Monument and related expenses that include jointing, finishing, patina application, construction and placement of an internal steel armature, shipping, etc. In January 2011, the bronze casting of the statue and bas-relief will commence.

In summary, the sculptors have completed the monument's two sculptural components – the enlargement of the Susan Magoffin statue and the bas-relief of James and his wife, María Gertrudis Valdez. The molds have been made of these sculptures. Now the Magoffin Monument sits within the Garden at the Keystone Heritage Park, El Paso, Texas.

The Magoffin Monument

This bronze, the third monument in the XII Travelers series, features the statue of Susan Shelby Magoffin with her faithful dog, Mr. Ring, and the bas-relief plaque of her brother-in-law, James Wiley Magoffin and his wife, Maria Gertrudis Valdez. James was a veteran Santa Fe Trader who settled in El Paso. His ranch became the site of the first Fort Bliss.On February 15, 1847, Susan and her husband, Samuel, crossed the Río Grande into El Paso del Norte (now Cd. Juárez) at the historic river ford of La Frontera that is located adjacent to Keystone Heritage Park. Thus, the placement of the statue in this beautiful park is most fitting. Her trail diary, since published, is a sensitive account of travel on the Santa Fe Trail from a woman's perspective, which describes the region's family and social life.

Susan Magoffin Enlargement and the Bas-Relief

The full-scale enlargement of the Susan Shelby Magoffin statue began in the winter of 2009 after the computerized laser enlargement (foam core with an internal armature) was fabricated. The laser process enhanced production efficiency, saved time and expenses, which permitted the sculptors to concentrate on the sculpting of the enlargement. On December 30, 2010, John and Ethan completed the mold making of the enlargement and the commemorative plaque.

In summary, the sculptors have completed the monument's two sculptural components – the enlargement of the Susan Magoffin statue and the bas-relief of James and his wife, María Gertrudis Valdez. The molds have been made of these sculptures. Now the Magoffin Monument can be shipped to the foundry to be cast in bronze.

The descriptive text within the relief's rectangular surface has been written and applied to the plaque. The descriptive text for the Magoffin Monument's storyboard has been written. The bronze plaque and storyboard will be mounted within the monument setting. Once funded has been concluded, a donor acknowledgment plaque will be produced in bronze and placed near or at the monument's base.