August F. Herwede was a local sculptor who had an accomplished encore career. He had a long career as an interior decorator and after his wife passed away began to sculpt animals in his late 70s. In the three years between the passing of his wife Augusta Herwede and his death, he created quite a collection of cement animals. The most well known of them being his headless dinosaur.
In that time, he built more than 30 animals around the small formerly white house on 476 just west of the headless dinosaur. He built an elephant, wooly mammoth, a pair of lions, fighting dinosaurs, a stegosaurus, and was working on his biggest creation a brontosaurus.
His daughter-in-law was quoted in the The St Petersburg Times as having been told by August that “I wanted to build an elephant but Mama wouldn’t let me.” He built his elephant and a collection of friends.
His interest in dinosaurs was said to have been piqued by the 1964 World's Fair Sinclair Oil sponsored Dinoland, an exhibit that featured sculptures of dinosaurs. He created a Stegosaurus, Trachodon, and most of a Brontosaurus all of which were featured in Dinoland.
August was a skilled sculptor which is evidenced by his creations. As time went by his creations became more lifelike. He captured the bulges of muscles under the skin, the texture of the hair, he paid attention to the details.
After his passing his sculptures were distributed around the area. The headless dinosaur remained where it is because after falling while working on it and breaking his legs, he was unable to finish it. We were able to track down five cement sculptures possibly created by August.
Several people contacted us and provided locations for the sculptures. We have been able to find an elephant, wooly mammoth, stegosaurus, and two other rougher sculptures. We will continue to look for additional sculptures and update you on our finds. We have been told that there are a couple of his sculptures on a golf course off 301, but as of yet we have not been able to locate them. If you know where there are August Herwede sculptures please call us at 352-593-4382 or email [email protected]
August has never received his due as an artist. This is probably because of his short career and that it was later in his life, so he never had a chance to promote himself. Once he died the sculptures were either given away or sold off. Long time residents remember the menagerie of animals around his house.