A Welcome Sight
by Victor Issa
The sculpture is entitled A Welcome Sight, a direct quote of Smith’s log-book entry, made on November 26, 1826, when he came over the crest of the San Gabriel Mountains and saw the view below for the first time.
Jedediah Strong Smith, an American explorer, was the first man to land a party of Americans over land into California. Setting out from near the Great Salt Lake in August, 1826, Smith and his party traveled the entire length of the Great Basin, cross the Mojave Desert, and entered southern California. On November 26, 1826, the group camped at Mud Springs (now San Dimas, California). The following day they reached Mission San Gabriel (in what is now San Gabriel, California). Smith was the first to cross the Sierra Nevada Range, first to travel the length and breadth of the Great Basin, and the first to reach the Columbia River by land from San Diego. He explored more American West than any man of his generation. The legacy of Jedediah Strong Smith’s journey's will always be an inspiring account in the history of the American West. Smith was a man of high moral principles, a respected leader, and a great American.
Historical consultants for this public art project were Doctor Raymund Wood, Donald H. Pfluger, and Thomas Tefft. Ken Sheffer of the Festival of Arts Board designed and directed the layout of the park.