Before I leave off talking about my trip to Hays, I want to mention one final discovery. All over Hays and in surrounding communities like Victoria, I ran across sculptures by Pete Felten. Born and raised in Hays, the artist credits his time and travels with the US Navy for awakening his interest in sculpture.
Felten completed his first public commission, a bust of Buffalo Bill Cody, in 1961. In the years since, the city of Hays has added more than 20 of his works to their cityscape. His works have also been displayed in other Ellis County towns, at the Kansas State Capital, and throughout the Midwest.
Two of Felten’s sculptures stand at the Cathedral of the Plains in Victoria. The Capuchin Franciscan Friar is pictured above. Volga Germans, a tribute to the immigrants who settled the town in 1876, is located across the street from the church. Here’s a link to a good photo of Volga Germans.
Here’s a short list of Pete Felten’s work, with links to photos of each one:
Monarch of the Plains (1967), located at Historic Fort Hays
Pioneer Family (1971), Oberlin, Kansas
Four Kansans (1981), Kansas State Capitol, Topeka
Pteranodon, Hays, Kansas
You can visit Pete Felten in Hays at his Stone Gallery studio, where he works on projects both large and small. To learn more about his life and see more photos of his work, go to VisitHays.com.