Victoria Sculpture Arrives

Editor Sue

It was 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27th, 2016, when the Storms Welding and Manufacturing truck pulled into town with the 1,200 pound, 8-foot tall structure securely strapped onto the bed.

Storms Welding received the plans in May 2015.  The steel structure was immediately recognizable as the sculpture commissioned by Randy Miller and the Victoria Centennial Committee in the spring of 2015, the Centennial Year of the incorporation of the City of Victoria.

Jeff Hartman of Hartman Tree Farm and Companies holds the miniature model of the sculpture, approved by the Centennial Committee and presented to city councilmembers in April 2015.  Since Victoria has long been known as “The City of Lakes and Parks,” those elements were incorporated into the design.

The Centennial Committee agreed a community sculpture was a good idea and Randy Miller, who is also President of the Victoria Business Association and activist volunteer, contacted Deb Zeller, resident artist, to design a piece for the city.

Randy Miller also contacted Charlie Storms of Cologne to build and fabricate the sculpture.  Charlie said he’s a first cousin to Marvin Storms, who is a retired welder/manufacturer here in Victoria, and that he had four uncles who were all blacksmiths (a term used in the old days, he said), two on his mother’s side and two on his father’s side.

Jeff Hartman and the Hartman Tree Farm (Victoria) dug the hole for the foundation and base in November 2015.  Paul Vogel of Vogel Masonry (Victoria) poured the concrete, also in November.

City of Victoria employees and equipment helped with the April installation.  Public Works guys on the ground included Jason Clark, Jeff Borg, and Al Zellmann, with Trevor Latzke running the front loader.

The audience included (l-r) Tom Gray (Victoria Building Official), Jeff Hartman (Hartman Tree Farm), Laurie Hokkanen (Victoria City Manager), Ben Landhauser (Community Development Director), and Randy Miller (VBA President, volunteer, contributor, and 2016 Victoria Citizen of the Year.)

Said Randy, “Without their assistance, projects of this magnitude would be difficult to complete.” 

The sculpture was paid for with donations from individuals, local businesses, and the Victoria Business Association.  Principal donor was Randy Miller.  There were also many hours of in-kind giving.

The rest of the pictures will tell their own story.  Installation in Bayfront Park took about an hour.

Charlie Storms turned the four nuts on the bolts in the concrete base until the structure was perfectly level and balanced.  It was a cold and windy day and, in this one hour, some of us were chilled to the bone.