Officially known as the Oregon Pioneer and informally known as the Gold Man, the statue sits (actually stands) atop the Oregon State Capitol building and is an icon for the City of Salem. The 22-foot-tall statue is mounted on a 23-foot-tall marble base. New Jersey sculptor Ulric Ellerhusen created the statue. It was shipped via freighter through the Panama Canal, then via rail to Salem and by truck to the site in 1938.
Made of bronze, the 8.5-ton pioneer is hollow inside. It’s gilded with a 23K gold leaf finish, which must be refurbished periodically due to physical abrasion from dust and, get this, scratches from bird claws. The bearded pioneer holds a splitting axe in his right hand; the blade end faces the ground. In his other hand he holds a tarp for the shelter he plans to build, according to the artist. He faces north and looks to the west.
At Creativity On, we’ve produced many goods for the Oregon State Capitol Gift Shop. One of our most popular is the embroidered Oregon Pioneer logo shirt, pictured above.
With our direct-to-garment printer, we can also print photos and graphics onto cotton fabrics which could be anything front t-shirts and fleece to shopping bags and rally towels. This opens the door for many creative interpretations of the Oregon Pioneer produced in digital media.