Route 66 News

Dedication for “East Meets West” statue is Nov. 9

The formal dedication for the elaborate “East Meets West” statue at Cyrus Avery Route 66 Centennial Plaza in Tulsa is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, according to a news release Friday from the City of Tulsa.

I’ve been told about 30 descendants of Cyrus Avery, the Father of Route 66, are expected at the event.

“East Meets West” depicts Avery stopping his early model Ford on the 11th Street Bridge after his vehicle spooked two horses pulling a wagon coming from west Tulsa’s oil fields. The statue also portrays Avery’s wife Essie, his daughter Helen, and the family cat.

By coincidence, I went to Avery Centennial Plaza on Friday to check the statue’s progress. Workers had labored the previous weekend to weld and hoist the statue’s pieces into place. The day I arrived, city contractors were erecting concrete barriers at the plaza’s edge, next to Southwest Boulevard (aka Route 66).

I shot dozens of photographs of the “East Meets West” statue. I was stunned by its detail, as I’m sure you will be. Sculptor Robert Summers‘ work included the wood grain in the wagon, the Firestone brand on the car’s tires, gauges on the Ford’s dashboard, the texture of the leather of Avery’s footwear, the nails on the horses’ shoes, and even a smashed grasshopper stuck on the Ford’s radiator grille.

Here’s a slide show of the “East Meets West” photos. Go here if you’re unable to see the slide show on this page.

The 135 percent-size sculpture encountered cost overruns and three years of delays, including Summers sustaining serious injuries in a fall. Regardless, “East Meets West” is a truly exceptional art piece.

7 thoughts on “Dedication for “East Meets West” statue is Nov. 9

  1. Susan Yates

    Thanks for the excellent photos of the sculpture’s details. It is so nice to pass the Plaza and see what was meant to be there all along. Surely East Meets West will be included in any Route 66 book from this time on and ought to help with the problem of tourists accidentally being routed around the city on OK 66 when they get scraped off Historic 66, thinking there was nothing to see in the city. Can’t wait to see the West gateway signage here in Red Fork and hoping it is as attractive as the plaques and podiums in East Tulsa. These things should mean Route 66 travelers can now actually find us!

  2. Ken Youden

    Looks fantastic! Certainly will be Draw, bringing tourists into the city. Oddly reminiscent of a series of sculptures in Omaha that depict a wagon train departing westward from Omaha, ca. 1860 (done at 125% scale, if I recall). Entitled Pioneer’s Courage, it consists of a four wagon train and all associated figures. See: http://www.firstnational.com/001/html/en/about_us/community_focus/sculpture_park/pioneer_park.html (Not Rt 66 related, of course, but similar is style, detail and size/scope).

  3. Rick Martin

    Stopped by a couple of weeks ago and was impressed with the quality of the first piece. Hoped to make it for the dedication but schedule conflicts won’t permit it. Look forward to another trip and check out the horse / wagon. Thanks for the photos!

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