Twenty five miles from the Blue Whale on Route 66 stands the World’s Largest Concrete Totem Pole, yet another oddity from the bygone era of roadside kitsch, a Route 66 landmark and a brilliant example of deco influenced folk art. The ninety foot monolith rises over rural Oklahoma, many colored and surrounded by smaller totems of various themes, a strange mix of very nineteen forties mimicked images of plains Native heritage woven together under a common theme of more Alaskan and Pacific Northwestern totemic styles. While the images remaining throughout the country from that era are frequently relics of a more offensive time, these are not, but rather have more of a beautiful tribute quality, the work of an artist with a deeply creative mind. The unique spin on multiple traditions is carried out in a playful yet reverent folkish manner, lending a certain sympathetic quality to the human images throughout the park. The animal images range from more traditional to whimsical, vaguely spiritual to guardian. The unique artistry behind the statues came from the mind of Ed Galloway, a retired art teacher and man of many talents, while the totem itself required some one hundred tons of sand and rock, twenty eight tons of cement, six tons of steel, and eleven years from 1937 to 1948 to complete. In total, it features two hundred carved images and is capped with four nine foot chiefs forever facing each of the cardinal directions.
For more information on the totem, see here.
*** Obviously, Dharma Anchor has always and likely will always run a week to a month behind from actual travel time to post. It’s a matter of production time and having a plate full besides. Sometimes it takes almost four months to get a trip posted, such as the last post. And while I will likely never be the kind to let anyone watching via the interwebs know where I am in real time, I did think it would be fun to keep things a bit more current as well as throw in some of the little tid bits that get lost in the wash. With that in mind, and because much against my cantankerous nature I have finally purchased a so-called smart phone for the first time in my life, Dharma Anchor has joined the ranks of Instagram. Feel free to follow along here.