Original Iron Man Sculpture Site

Designed by Jean E. Loomis, a New Zealander, the Original Fifth City was inspired by the colors from a four-day festival. Each festival was a celebration of the gifts and ethnicity of different cultures. The Yellow Man, the Red Man, the White Man, and the last festival were the Black Man. Loomis reflects on a conversation between her and a resident “He was speaking about standing in the moment not as a victim but as a person of faith. The sculpture grew out of this talk and my experience of living in 5th City.”

In April 1968, the sculpture was unveiled to the community behind an area of the Node. It was the afternoon before Martin Luther King’s assassination. The neighborhood was affected by the riots, and the people started to rebuild immediately. In commemoration of the events, they built the Iron Man sculpture placed in the center of Fifth City. As you face the front of the statue, the left panel is a wedgeblade—it represents the past. The figure in the form of an X represents the present moment, to stand amid the ghetto; Not as a victim but as a free man. The right-hand panel is again a sun symbol and represents that the future is open. The rib cage shows the decision to give your life, to be a dead man.

This statue still stands today as a witness to those residents who decided to drive their very lives like stakes into the city’s ground and take responsibility for its rebirth. Plans are being proposed to refurbish the Iron Man Plaza at Jackson & Homan. It was later relocated to the junction of Homan and 5th Ave.