A dedication ceremony was held Saturday afternoon in Lewis, for the Cass County Freedom Rock.
Cass County Freedom Rock site in Lewis. (Image from the Cass County Freedom Rock Facebook page)
The 15,000-pound, eight-foot tall, nearly 5-foot wide boulder painted by Greenfield artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II, sits on a concrete pad on the northeast corner of the Lewis City Park. It was set in place in November 2013, with the painting have been completed by Sorensen earlier this year.
The Cass County Freedom Rock features images unique to Cass County, including Major Belle Macomber Reynolds, who traveled with her husband during the Civil War, attending to wounded and dying soldiers. She later became a doctor, worked for the Red Cross and early in her career, was the first professionally trained teacher in Cass County. Another image on the rock is the 23rd Regiment, Iowa Volunteers, Company I, which was comprised mostly of men from Cass County during the Civil War. The final image is that of the Hitchcock House, which served as a station on the Underground Railroad and is on the National Register of Historic Places as well as a National Landmark.
Sorensen said the Hitchcock House provided him with the inspiration for his Civil War-inspired painting. Sorensen said the setting for the Cass County rock is among the most unique he’s seen in Counties where he has worked on other Freedom Rock projects. That’s because the cement slab the rock sits on is in the shape of the State of Iowa, and there are paving bricks honoring veterans.
Sorensen gained fame and attention for his work, when he created the first Freedom Rock north of Greenfield, in Adair County, more than 17-years ago. He’s painted the original, 12-foot tall, nearly 60-ton boulder each year before Memorial Day, as a tribute to military men and women.
He’s on his third Freedom Rock Tour, painting and dedicating boulders commissioned by local and County officials across Iowa. For a list of complete counties booked for the Tour and locations of already existing Freedom Rocks, visit www.thefreedomrock.com.