On March 27, more than 200 project supporters and citizens celebrated the installation of Waukee Railroad Pergola: In the Shadow of the Rails at the Waukee Trailhead of the Raccoon River Valley Trail.
Following the ribbon cutting on the 27th, the group lit the 350-foot long structure's LED lighting features. This eye-catching art piece, designed by artist David Dahlquist, will act as an inviting gateway to the Raccoon River Valley Trail as well as a unique amenity for Waukee residents and visitors.
The "In the Shadow of the Rails" design reflects Waukee's railroad history. The former rail system was actually repurposed to form the Raccoon River Valley Trail, connecting 14 communities along the trail. Soon the design elements will pop up in other locations along the trail, eventually making the installment the largest linear public art feature in the U.S.
Special thanks go to Jim Miller and Randy Jensen who started with an idea in 2012 and raised $1.1 million to make it a reality. Thanks to the Waukee Betterment Foundation, Vision Iowa, Great Places and many, many more supporters who contributed!
Click here to see more photos from the event.
Here are some fun facts about the Waukee Railroad Pergola:
- It is 350 feet long and consists of 32, 13-foot tall tile-wrapped columns with overhead steel beams and stylized rails.
- The structure stands a total of 15 feet high and features tremendous LED night lights powered by nine solar panels.
- There are more than 5,800 individually crafted ceramic tiles wrapped around the columns.
- It took 29 tons of clay, 113 gallons of glaze, 12 craftspeople and 11 months to create the tiles.
Take a ride, run or walk through the pergola during the day or at night! There are picnic tables at the site as well, for those who would rather sit and relax while enjoying the new public art space. Learn more about the project and the Waukee Betterment Foundation.