by WES FERGUSON
A helicopter is flying the skies above Hays County today as it airlifts the massive “Morning Glories” sculpture in pieces from Texas State University’s Aquarena Center to a new home at a private ranch in Wimberley.
“Morning Glories,” a half-century-old metal and fiberglass work by the late Wimberley artist Buck Winn, is being removed in preparation for a $4 million restoration project at Spring Lake.
Texas River Systems Institute Director Andrew Sansom said he believes the Spring Lake endeavor is the “most significant environmental restoration project in the nation right now.”
The lake, at the head of the San Marcos River, is the second-largest artesian springs in the western United States. It is home to eight species that are federally listed as endangered or threatened and is one of the oldest continually inhabited sites on the continent.
“In my mind,” Sansom said, “it is truly, globally significant. It’s the only one of its kind.”
Winn, an internationally renowned artist who died in 1979, created “Morning Glories” in 1963. For years the sculpture offered shade for tourists waiting in line for park attractions at the now-defunct Aquarena Springs Resort.
The sculpture is being returned to the Winn family ranch in Wimberley and to Buck Winn’s grandson, Andrew Winn.
WES FERGUSON reports for The Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Free Press and the San Marcos Mercury.Email | Print
While I do understand the importance of preserving the delicate balance of nature at Spring Lake, I can not help but feel as if San Marcos once again has lost a little piece of her history. I am happy the sculptures are being returned to the Winn Family who I know appreciate what they are. It’s too bad San Marcos could not have found a location in town to place the art where it could honor the artist as well as the important role Aquarena Springs played in San Marcos.
As far as I know, the city and the university did not (would not) pay for the moving of this sculpture. It would have been nice to see it on public display somewhere else in San Marcos, but it’s not fair to make the family pay for that.
@Aquafresca: I understand that Texas State University did cover the cost of the relocation according to Buck Winn’s grandson, Andrew Winn.
The historic nostalgia we place on things is relative to one’s perspective. These structures are a recent and brief part of the history surrounding the San Marcos Springs. There are those who will miss them and others welcome to see them go elsewhere. They pale in comparison to the installation of the Burleson dam in the mid 1800’s, altering the landscape significantly – space considered sacred by indigenous Americans changed forever. At least the sculptures won’t be destroyed and will be restored.
Despite all the changes over time, the most important process remains – the Springs are still flowing. Evidence suggests they’ve been flowing uninterrupted for millions of years. Let us not forget the importance and protection they deserve – for the sake of all life that depends on them: the ecology/endangered species, the San Marcos economy, local recreation, all communities downstream and the inflows into the ocean, the heart and soul of San Marcos itself… Without the Springs, there would be no San Marcos established. Let’s remember this every time we use water and make decisions about our resources. Let’s also remember what almost replaced the Aquarena Center in the 90s – a water bottling plant. Let’s celebrate and be thankful for that which we treasure the most and protect it.
By the way, photo text should read: “Photographers standing on the roof of the Texas Rivers Center…” The Aquarena Center isn’t a building, it’s an outdoor educational set of experiences which will continue beyond the restoration project. Glass bottom boats included.
I used to work at Aquarena Springs. I recall the pristine condition of the Sky Ride, one of my former posts. Yes, it’s sad to see the artwork transferred to another locale, but at least they’ll be preserved. Things could have been worse; the sculptures could have faced a bulldozer.