A new welcome to Kingsville comes with a lot of 'bull'

Gene Schwandtner and his son Chis have created the "Kingsville Bull," a landmark on their property along Route 1 in Kingsville to welcome motorists.
Gene Schwandtner and his son Chis have created the "Kingsville Bull," a landmark on their property along Route 1 in Kingsville to welcome motorists. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

A gold-colored bull built to be a roadside marker for Kingsville has become a draw for motorists, many of them from Harford County, who pass through the neighboring eastern Baltimore County community along Route 1 each day.

"I've seen a few people stopping and taking selfies with it," said Gene Schwandtner, 49, who installed the bull in a concrete stand on his property off just south of Open Bible Way.


The bull can be seen on the right when traveling south on Route 1 about two miles south of the Little Gunpowder Falls, which marks the Baltimore-Harford County line.

The bull is made of aluminum and was manufactured by a company in Texas. Schwandtner and his 23-year-old son, Chris, then formed and poured a concrete base, which bears the name "Kingsville," and installed the statue.


Schwandtner said the bull was installed about two weeks ago. He put lights on the statue about one week ago so drivers can see it in the dark.

He painted the bull statue bronze, but the shade of paint he used gives off a golden sheen.

The bull sits about 100 yards from where a state-owned road sign marking Kingsville was knocked down by a snowplow during the winter.

"I thought I'd put one up that's a little more permanent," Schwandtner said.

Schwandtner, who was born in Perry Hall, has lived in Kingsville since he was in the first grade. His mother lives in what had been the Kingsville home of her parents. His parents lived in Perry Hall when he was born.

"I just have a lot of pride in Kingsville, and I think it's a very tight-knit community," he said.

The bull also has a blue ribbon around its neck, a sign of Schwandtner's support for the police, especially in the wake of this spring's unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray from injuries he suffered after being arrested by city police.

"I think the police, now, are afraid to do their job, and people are feeling like they don't need to have respect for the police," he said.

Schwandtner has previously put blue ribbons around trees on his property and on his mailbox as part of a nationwide campaign to show support for police. It is known on social media as the "Sea of Blue Ribbon Campaign."

"When everything happened in Baltimore, I put [ribbons] back out and tried to get everybody to do it again," he said.

Jean Teal, of Whiteford ,where she operates Sunny Hill Farm, started the Sea of Blue Ribbon Campaign in December 2014 after the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., which happened after a local grand jury declined to indict an officer who killed 18-year-old Michael Brown that August.

The campaign also started shortly before two New York City police officers were murdered, Teal said.


Teal grew up in Kingsville with Schwandtner.

"I was absolutely thrilled, absolutely thrilled," she said about him tying the blue ribbon on the bull. "He had a ribbon up on his tree for a long time and put it on the bull when he got the bull."

Schwandtner, a 1983 graduate of Perry Hall High School, works as a contractor. He raises beef cattle as a hobby on his six-acre property.

"I think the bull is a sign of confidence, power," he said.

Schwandtner works on commercial interiors professionally, and then on rental properties on his own time. He used his personal materials and equipment to build the base and install the statue.

The concrete base in about 3 feet high, and the statue is 8 to 9 feet high, he said.

Schwandtner posted pictures on Facebook during construction.

"A lot of people sent me messages saying how much they loved driving by it every morning," he said.

His son, Chris, who graduated from Perry Hall in 2009 and works in construction, helped build the forms for the concrete base, set them in place and anchor them. He also helped pour the concrete and bring the statue home.

"I've had a lot of friends from around the area say that they think it's cool," Chris said. "People that I meet don't know me, but they know where the Kingsville bull is. It's kind of a landmark now, you can't miss it on Belair Road."

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