DENVER — The namesake of Rose Medical Center is getting a statue in downtown Denver.
Rose Medical Center is, indeed, named for a person and not a flower. And that person was, kind of, a big deal.
General Maurice Rose was raised in Denver, went to East High School and went on to be one of the most prominent figures in World War II.
That pillar of the Colorado’s Jewish community will soon be immortalized in bronze from the work of Loveland sculptor George Lundeen.
“I had a couple of fellas from Denver come up a couple of years ago and asked me if I’d be interested in doing a sculpture of General Rose. And I looked them straight in the face and said, ‘Who is General Rose?'” said Lundeen.
Like we said, Rose Medical Center is named after a person.
“I don’t think he had much to do with medicine. He was out there trying to kill Nazis,” said Lundeen.
“Most people thought the hospital was named after a rose, the flower. Not anymore,” said Rose biographer Marshall Fogel.
He wrote the biography Major General Maurice Rose: The Most Decorated Battletank Commander in U.S. Military History.
“He was to Eisenhower what Grant was to Lincoln,” said Fogel.
Rose was killed in World War II, leading from the front.
“There are a lot of people that have been lost in history,” said Fogel. “He’s a national hero that has been unrecognized for too many years.”
“He’s, kind of, a forgotten hero. And I think it’s important that future generations of Coloradans know about General Rose,” said Rose statue organizer Paul Shamon.
Shamon helped convince state lawmakers to pass a resolution allowing for the statue to be placed across from the Capitol in Lincoln Veterans Memorial Park.
“We found that very few people who are currently in the legislature knew who Rose was,” said Shamon. “I hope they get an education. There will be a QR code where they can learn more about General Rose.”
The project began three years ago. A few sketches and a small clay mold.
From the start, the pose has been fairly consistent.
“I figured if he’s up front, he’s jumping out of his Jeep, he’s getting close to the tanks, he’s saying ‘You guys, come on. We’re going forward. Let’s get into Germany. Let’s go. Let’s go,” said Lundeen.
Lundeen worked off photos of Rose which showed two constants about his appearance.
The first, his clothes.
“As Marshall [Fogel] will tell you, General Rose didn’t come out of his tent in the morning if he wasn’t simply dressed to the Ts. He looked like he came right off of a Hollywood set,” said Lundeen.
The second, his demeanor.
“Unfortunately, most of the shots you see of General Rose, he doesn’t have much of an expression on his face. So, when I do him, I’m going to try to give him a little bit more of an expression,” said Lundeen.
The statue is currently made out of Styrofoam, steel, wood and is covered in clay.
And on Thursday, it was dissected.
“We actually chop the whole piece into 10 or 12 pieces,” said Lundeen.
Not to start over. Rather, to create the bronze.
“We’ll put those on the table and we’ll cover them with rubber and plaster and make molds of them. We then take those molds, paint a coat of wax into them, pop the wax coat out of it, and then we’ll have a wax piece that looks just like the clay piece did. We take the wax piece, then, to the foundry. The foundry puts another mold around it, puts it in a big oven, they melt the wax out of that mold. Then, they pour the mold full of bronze, and then we end up with a bronze piece that looks just like the wax piece that looked just like that clay piece. Then, we take those pieces back to the shop and we weld them all together and we end up with a bronze piece that looks just like the clay piece,” said Lundeen.
The plan is to dedicate the statue on Colorado Day, August 1.
“We’re paying for this with no tax dollars,” said Shamon.
“A little less than a million dollars to do the statue, do the lighting, the sidewalk, the monument that the statue will sit on,” said Fogel.
The statue at 14th Avenue and Lincoln will, hopefully, educate people about the namesake of the medical center at 9th Avenue and Cherry Street.
“I’d like us to be known as the discoverers of a legend that will finally be recognized not only in the community of Colorado, but in the national community as well,” said Fogel.