Praying Hands Memorial, Webb City
The hands remain forever folded
on a mound overlooking the city. American flags flap around the silent
memorial, and carved in stone in front of the statue are six simple
words: “Hands in prayer. World in peace.”
The sight of Praying Hands Memorial in Webb City leaves a lasting impression.
Each year, thousands of visitors and locals see the giant hands.
The memorial started in 1970, when a 20-year-old student named Jack
Dawson approached the Webb City Park Board and the Historical Society
about an art piece he wished to build in the city’s King Jack
Park. The organizations quickly approved the statue and encouraged
local citizens and merchants to help fund the project.
Dawson began the work in his own backyard by creating a steel understructure
covered with a metal lath. Curious locals said the sight resembled
a gigantic bird cage. When the steelwork was ready for the white stucco
covering in the fall of 1972, the hands were taken to a mound in the
park, near Highway 71.
On April 28, 1974, the 32-foot, 100-ton memorial opened to the public
at a dedication ceremony. That day, the hand’s creator said, “The
hands symbolize the need for a personal commitment and relationship
More than 30 years later, Praying Hands Memorial remains a symbol of
the artist’s faith and the importance of prayer.
Admission to the memorial, which is open to visitors year-round, is
free. To visit Praying Hands Memorial, take Highway 71 to the eastern
edge of Webb City.