The Heber Valley is home to many artists and art displays where residents and visitors alike are privileged to view beautiful creations on a daily basis.
Our local statues are among the striking art we take for granted in the valley, as they are almost too easily overlooked in public places. A careful scan of our lovely community, however, will uncover some of these amazing pieces of art — and reveal the history they portray and the stories of how they came to be.
1. The Blue Boar
The first bronze boar was cast in 1634. It was a replica of a Roman marble
statue copied from a Greek statue from antiquity and given to the Medici
family by the Pope in the 1500s. Our very own Blue Boar Inn in Midway, has
one of 12 replica statues in the United States. It is said that rubbing the boar’s
snout can bring good luck. Just be sure to respect the landscaping.
2. Matty the Bear
The official mascot of the Zermatt Resort, “Matty the Bear” was created in 2006 by the resort’s founder, Dr. Robert Fuller, in tribute to a local legend. Henry Kohler, a Swiss descendant and Midway resident, dressed up as a bear every year during Swiss Days and played his accordion and sung German folk songs. Kohler passed away in 1999 at the age of 83, and Matty was named by Fuller, who took the “Matt” from Zermatt.
3. 2002 Olympic Monuments
Standing about eight feet high, these
elegant stanless steel creations are interpretations of the 2002 Olympic logo, which used various colors to signify aspects of the Games and the local culture. In the logo, the yellow top represents the Olympic flame and the athletes’ courage. Utah’s Native Americans are symbolized by the woven style of the orange center section, and the bluish-purple bottom section represents our beautiful snow-capped mountains that contrast our desert areas.
4. Boots Of War
Atop the beautiful Memorial Hill in Midway, these boots, together with a soldier’s firearm, helmet and dog tags, stand as reminder of our community members who fought valiantly in our military and sacrificed themselves in service. Around 1927, brass plaques inscribed with the names of veterans who had served in war were installed on stone pillars near the sculpture. Tragically, vandals later stole these precious plaques.
5. Homestead Frogs
Located just outside the pro shop and the front entrance of the Homestead Resort, you’ll find two handsome frogs eagerly awaiting a transformative kiss. Try your luck at discovering a prince or maybe just enjoy this great photo op.
6. The Crossing
This 2001 piece of art is one of eight such works sculpted by Mark DeGraffenried, a 1993 Utah State University graduate. Other locations include the city ports of Oslo, Norway; Hamburg, Germany; Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland; Liverpool, England; Hull, England; and Portsmouth, England. The statue was cast in bronze to commemorate Utah’s pioneer heritage from Europe, and its plaque explains the history of early settlers in the valley, telling us their origins and a little about what life was like for them.
7. The Family
Each part of this sculpture was carefully crafted to represent important attributes of our family culture. Its plaque explains, “The father provides direction for the future with his hand on the wheel. The mother, located at the center, provides teaching and nurturing of the family. The son kneels at his mother’s knee, which reminds us that the greatest lessons are taught in the home. The daughter standing with a book in her hand suggest the need for continued education.”
8. Journey’s End
This statue by Peter Fillerup depicts pioneer William Madison Wall who was sent by Brigham Young to deliver a gift of 100 head of cattle to the camp of Chief Tabby. The chief was preparing for war in retaliation against those who had forced his people onto reservations. After several meetings, a peace treaty was signed in Heber City on August 20, 1867. This treaty brought about conditions where settlers could move out of forts in Heber, Midway and Wallsburg, and begin building the beautiful community in which we now live.