The Eisenhower bust: Its purpose and history in Denison
DENISON, Texas (KTEN) — The 16-foot bust of Dwight David Eisenhower along U.S. 75 in Denison doesn't just honor our 34th president; it also pays tribute to veterans like Ike, who was a five-star general during World War II before moving to the White House in 1953.
The city wanted the sculpture, which features Eisenhower in military uniform, to pay tribute to the president and to get people to explore Denison.
“They looked for possible locations, and it was on the highway. The thought behind it is that it would draw people into town to the birthplace,” said Denison Main Street director Donna Dow. “The birthplace always sends them downtown to eat and shop, and so it’s just a great cycle."
The site also serves as a veterans’ monument. Service was something Ike was extremely proud of.
“I tell this story often: A Bataan Death March survivor that came out and saw the bust and saw his brick there for the very first time... and he just broke down,” Dow said.
The bust is one of many that had been sculpted for a presidential theme park before being moved to Denison in 2011.
“David Adickes was the artist; he’s done many presidential busts and was renowned, and we were able to attain one of those,” Dow said.
Next month, the city will welcome a fresh set of dedicated bricks in the plaza surrounding Ike's bust in an annual ceremony.
“It will be Eisenhower’s birthday celebration here in Denison. And there will be about 50 bricks that will be installed this year.”