John Henry, Charles O. Cooper, 1972
This sculpture was made for the Hilldale-Talcott Ruritan Club to mark the 100th anniversary of the completion of the Big Bend Tunnel for the C&O Railroad in 1872. John Henry is depicted because his famous race against the steam drill (after which he died) is supposed to have happened during construction of the tunnel. The ballad of John Henry is a well-known folk song. One verse goes like this:
John Henry said to his Captain,
"A man ain't nothin' but a man,
And before I'll let your steam drill beat me down,
Die with the hammer in my hand,
Die with the hammer in my hand."
Maybe you've heard it or sung it?