Ruth Anne Dodge Memorial, "Black Angel" – Council Bluffs, Iowa
Locally known, in Council Bluffs, as th "Black Angel," this statue inspired by visions experienced by Mrs. Dodge in 1916 on the three nights preceding her death.
The solid bronze statue, commissioned by the Dodges’ two daughters, was created by Daniel Chester French who call the Black Angel one of his finest works. French is known nationally for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
According to the legend, Mrs. Dodge related to family members that she had a vision of being on a rocky shore and, through a mist, seeing a boat approach. In the prow was a beautiful young woman whom Mrs. Dodge thought to be an angel. The woman carried a small bowl under one arm and extended the other arm toward Mrs. Dodge in an invitation to partake of the water flowing from the vessel. Then, according to accounts later published by Mrs. Dodge’s daughter, Anne, the angel spoke twice, saying: "Drink, I bring you both a promise and a blessing." The daughter wrote that the vision came three times to her mother and, on the third visit, Mrs. Dodge took the drink as offered and felt "transformed into a new and glorious spiritual being." Mrs. Dodge died immediately after her supposed third vision, on September 5, 1916. She had died in her sleep at her home in New York. Her body was brought back to Council Bluffs where she was buried in a mausoleum in Walnut Hill Cemetery.
The memorial was commissioned in 1917 to Daniel Chester French, the same man who sculpted the statue of the Minute Man in Concord, Massachusetts and the Lincoln Memorial Statue in Washington DC. The ten foot tall angel statue is made of solid bronze. The construction of the statue took approximately two years, and the cost of the statue was reported at around $40,000.
Location: 308 Lafayette Avenue (Council Bluffs, IA)