November 18, 2012
Greene County, GA
The Iron Horse sits in a corn field in Greene County, right off GA 15. It's an easy drive from Athens, and one of my favorite places to go.
The abstract sculpture was created by Abbott Pattison at UGA's Lamar Dodd School of Art and placed in front of Reed Hall in 1954. Back then, art, and metal sculpture in particular, was new to southern universities and the horse was not well received - at all. Just hours after its placement, students gathered around the iron creature, placed straw in its mouth, manure at its back, and painted the words "front" on its neck and "back" on its tail. Balloons were tied underneath the rear legs, and attempts were made to set the horse on fire. The university decided to remove and hide the sculpture until in 1959, it was moved to its current location on a farm in Greene County, where it now sits in the middle of a corn field, visible from GA 15 only in the winter. Jack Curtis, owner of the farm, says they are now judging the corn crops on whether or not they can see the horse.
There have been several attempts to bring the Iron Horse back to campus but they all failed.
Last week, the Board of Regents approved a request by the University of Georgia to purchase the farm in Greene County, to be used for agricultural research. It is ironic that the Iron Horse will once again sit on UGA property (unless there are plans to move it once again).