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Charles Leopold Ostner papers

Identifier: MS 0071
Pencil and watercolor works depicting a variety of themes, and two large canvas works on western themes.


  • [1865?]


0.5 Cubic Feet (1 small document box and 1 oversize folder.)

Biographical Note

Charles Leopold Ostner was born in Bronnacker, Baden, Germany on December 28, 1828. He studied art at the University of Heidelberg but was forced to emigrate to America after becoming involved in a student uprising. Ostner settled in San Francisco in 1850 where he married Julia Armbruster whose family had also left Germany to escape political unrest.

For the next decade Ostner joined the search for gold in the West. Being unsuccessful in that venture, he purchased a toll bridge on the South Fork of the Payette River at Garden Valley, Idaho. In 1865 Ostner started to carve a statue of George Washington on a horse using a postage stamp to copy Washington's likeness. The statue was carved from Ponderosa pine and working in his spare time, it took four years to complete.

Ostner and his family, which included his wife, a son and two daughters, moved to Boise in 1869. An elaborate presentation ceremony for the statue was held in Boise on January 8, 1869. As a gift, the Fifth Session of the Legislature voted him a $2,500 payment for the statue which is still on display in the Idaho Statehouse. Ostner died in Boise on December 6, 1913.

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts Repository

2205 Old Penitentiary Road
Boise ID 83712
(208) 334-2620