Poet and philosopher Max Ehrmann, a life-long Terre Haute resident, is known throughout the world for “Desiderata,” and other poems. He often wrote near the corner of 7th and Wabash, the “Crossroads of America,” where he drew inspiration from the sights, sounds and people of Terre Haute. He once wrote of his hometown, “What place is lovelier than Terre Haute? … Here is the world in miniature.”

By placing a sculpture of this renowned writer in the heart of the downtown, Art Spaces celebrates the vibrant cultural life of this important Midwest City that nurtured many artists, writers and musicians who went on to become widely known.

The artist, Bill Wolfe, is known throughout the region for his life-size bronze works portraying historical subjects. For him, it was a great pleasure getting to know Max Ehrmann through research which involved reading his works and studying photos, looking at his handwriting and the period attire. The striking bronze figure, seated on a bench writing, with a contemplative and kind demeanor, invites to passersby to linger and contemplate the downtown setting, much as Max did when he lived here.

The poem “Desiderata” is mounted nearby, and excerpts are embedded in the walkway. The entire plaza offers people a chance to visit with Max, take photographs and read his familiar words in phrases such as “go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence,” which linger in the air long after the phrase has disappeared.

Additional Information:

Bronze, 2010

4′ 2″ high, 5′ 3″ wide, 4′ deep

Located on Historic National Road (U.S. 40) at the Crossroads of America, the corner of 7th Street and Wabash Avenue.

Bill Wolfe lives and works in West Terre Haute, Indiana.

Art Spaces gratefully acknowledges:

  • Wabash Valley Community Foundation
  • City of Terre Haute, Duke A Bennett, Mayor
  • Indiana Laborers’ Training Trust Fund
  • Indiana Chemical Trust
  • Old National Bank
  • Vectren Foundation
  • ST Construction, Inc.
  • Laborers Local Union 204
  • Hank Metzger
  • Boral Bricks, Inc