Fritters (fritters) wrote,

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Picture Post: Old Trapper's Lodge Statues

Background: Once upon a time, there was a gentleman named John Ehn. He was proud of his pioneer ancestry and decided to make some art. What he created was a plethora of life-sized statues of pioneers, Native Americans and a few other items. He displayed the finished sculptures at his motel near Burbank Airport, and since he called himself "The Old Trapper", he named his motel The Old Trapper's Lodge.

After he died, his creations were declared a California state cultural landmark but a few years later the motel was going to be razed. So someone made a call to Pierce College (the one I attend) and they were moved to an out-of-the-way piece of land on the campus.

Most people who attend have never even come across the statues or heard that they're there. I had heard of it through a few webpages, and one day last fall Martin and I made a small detour on one of our Saturday errand runs to see them ourselves.

There's more information on the statues on the links above, but here are the pictures that came out the best. Be warned, some of the statues tend to fall into the Uncanny Valley, but they all have an awkward sincerity about them that you only really find in folk art.

Muchlike the Futurliner, this is just another example of the cool stuff you can stumble across all over Los Angeles.

Before you get to the rest of the statues, you have to get past the scary scary turtle.

Meet Lonesome George. You could have your picture taken with him, but then his name would be inaccurate, wouldn't it?

Two showgirls and a cowboy with some "Corn Likr." Old Trapper seemed to still be working on a way to make his people come across naturally posed. I love the girl in red on the left, she looks like she's having a heck of a time holding that pose.

Martin, enjoying the company of a couple of showgirls.

A tribute to the pioneer mothers of the past. The trees had grown over her face somewhat, making the shot hard to get, but it was such a nice tribute I had to get a picture.

Here are a couple of the tombstones to people who never existed, although I enjoy his attention to detail in the write ups on them. He tries to make them come across as real fleshed-out characters in the little space he has.

"The fight - Pegleg Smith vs. Big Bear." Originally, I thought this was a little culturally insensitive nowadays, but then I saw that they were BOTH listed as "Mighty Americans". Check out the expression in the second shot on Pegleg Smith.

I couldn't get a shot of every cool sign AND post them large enough to all be read, but this gives you an example of them.

Okay, THIS one is a little less culturally sensitive, but it's still an amusing piece of statuary. You'd think from his women that the guy never really got very close to one. They all tend to have a distinct lack of hips. I can't remember the exact name of this one, but it's supposed to be a Native American kidnapping a lady to be his wife.

If anyone in the L.A. area wants to know how to see these on the campus, let me know and I'll tell you how to find them.
Tags: photos

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