Have you noticed a bronze statue of a dog in Central Park, close to the Tisch Children’s Zoo? The statue depicts Balto, who was an Alaskan sled dog.
The Statue of Balto in Central Park has been around since December of 1925. It’s situated west of 67th Street and East Drive. It’s north of the park’s zoo.
Why Is Balto So Special?
In January 21st, 1925, in Nome, Alaska, there was an outbreak of an infection known as Diptheria. This infection may trigger breathing difficulties, as well as paralysis and heart failure. It’s in infection which may be fatal.
Unfortunately, supplies of the serum (antitoxin) for Diphtheria were in short supply when the outbreak occurred. Some children in Nome were not able to get the antitoxin when they needed it the most.
This is where Balto the sled dog came in. This brave and loyal Siberian husky was a “lead dog”. Balto guided his team on the last relay of the “serum run”. He helped the sled’s human operator (operators of dog sleds are known as “mushers”) to get through a terrible blizzard.
Relay of twenty dog sled teams travelled an astonishing 674 miles to get supplies of the antitoxin from Nenana to Nome!
In recognition of the canine’s amazing bravery, a sculptor from Brooklyn, named Frederick George Richard Roth, was hired to create a statue of Balto. Roth has other sculptures in Central Park, including Dancing Goat, Dancing Bear and Mother Goose.
The statue of Balto was unveiled on December 17 of 1925. Thanks to group of NY dog lovers who raised money to erect bronze statue of heroic dog and Balto was there to see it on that special day.
Balto embodied everything that is wonderful about dogs. Balto must have suffered greatly as he guided the sled across the unforgiving Alaskan landscape. However, he never faltered.
The Statue of Balto is Beloved
For ninety years, this charming statue has been beloved by Central Park visitors. Children hug the statue and pretend to ride it. In fact, the statue gets so much attention and love that it’s become burnished around the back and ears.
Upon the statue’s plaque, you’ll find the words, “Endurance – Fidelity – Intelligence”. As you can see, Balto remains a wonderful role model for little ones who find him in Central Park. He’s not a bad role model for adults, either.
Book a Central Park Pedicab Tour Today
If you would like to know more about Balto’s story and see his statue in Central Park, please join us on a one-hour Central Park Pedicab Tour. Our friendly tour guides know everything about the park and show you Balto and tons of other fascinating Central Park attractions.