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The Barefoot Legend

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The bronze Barefoot Mailman statue atop Hillsboro Inlet Bridge. Statue by Mario Chiodo. Photo by Debra Todd.

In July 2014, the City of Pompano Beach issued a Call to Artists requesting submissions from qualified artists to create a bronze sculpture of the Barefoot Mailman who, legend tells, drowned while trying to swim across the Hillsboro Inlet in 1887. As part of a public art project funded and managed by the City of Pompano Beach Public Works, the sculpture was designed specifically to be located on the Hillsboro Inlet Bridge. The top-ranking artist was Mario Chiodo out of Oakland, CA who had completed approximately 30 bronze figurative sculptures including many monumental works across the country.

Chiodo envisioned a fresh and new iconic image for the legend of the Barefoot Mailman. The artwork he created depicts a mailman traveling at top speed, determined and focused, his supplies and mailbag flying in the air. Chiodo’s sculpture presents a more exaggerated and exciting perspective for the Hillsboro Inlet Bridge. While the artwork is inventive, the detail and accessories help to capture a moment in time and continue to tell the story of the Barefoot Mailman. Chosen for its expression, dynamic form, movement, craftsmanship and attention to detail, the major work of art was unveiled in its permanent home atop a nearly 21-foot concrete pedestal after restoration to the Hillsboro Inlet bridge was completed. The statue helps provide an eye-catching gateway into the city.

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