GRAPEVINE, TEXAS (October 21, 2021) – Grapevine’s latest work of public art, the life-size bronze statue “Choppin Cotton,” harkens back to a time when cotton was king. The sculpture, soon to be surrounded by rows of cotton, depicts a farmer in his field, head down and focused on thinning the weaker cotton growth with a hoe, to ensure maximum crop production. Sculpted by John Rule, the public artwork pays tribute to agrarian families who arduously farmed cotton on the Grape Vine Prairie to support themselves and their community.
Grapevine, founded in 1844, is the oldest settlement in Tarrant County and has a rich agrarian history. Area farmers succeeded only through hard physical labor, a subsistence lifestyle and dependence on local and outer market trade – initially reachable only by wagons and dirt roads. With the arrival of the railroad and the Cotton Belt Route in 1888, Grapevine’s agrarian community connected to the global trade market and the sale of cotton crops and other commodities expanded. A leading American export during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, king cotton brought Grapevine prosperity – and more hours spent “choppin cotton.”
The statue is located in the fields of historic Nash Farm, a living history farm where Grapevine’s 19th century agrarian traditions are preserved. The farm includes the original 1869 farmhouse, historic barn and other structures. The farm raises heritage breed livestock including Gulf Coast sheep, turkeys, and chickens, as well as heirloom field crops and produce.