World’s Largest Totem Pole

I’ve been talking with Amy Elliott, who did the documentary ‘World’s Largest – a Documentary About Small Towns with BIG THINGS‘ – it’s coming out soon (not sure of the date yet but of course I’ll post here). Two of the things that wound up in the film are in Alabama – the peach water tower in Clanton, and the Boll Weevil monument in Enterprise.

In December I ran across an article about the world’s largest concrete totem pole and how it’s been recently restored. It’s in a town not too far from Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was built by Ed Galloway from 1937-1948 and is 90′ tall with a 54′ base (all that was from 100 tons of sand and rock, 28 tons of cement, 6 tons of steel).

All these pics below are used courtesy KB35 on Flickr with a creative commons license. The originals can be found here:

…from the article in the Tulsa World:

Galloway died 47 years ago at the age of 82. However, what he left behind still draws thousands of people to the relatively isolated area on Oklahoma 28A between old U.S. 66 and the Will Rogers Turnpike.

Totem Pole Park has been featured in several books and articles on American folk art. In 1999, the park and Galloway’s work were listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Carolyn Comfort, who manages the park for the Rogers County Historical Society, said there were 3,020 visitors in June, July and August. Remarkably, 641 of them were from outside the United States — mostly from England, Germany and the Netherlands.

Comfort said that during the previous summer, the park had visitors from 45 states as well as 24 countries.

A multitasker, Galloway also carved hundreds of violins out of various woods from around the world and built an 11-sided “fiddle house” on his property to house them.

Comfort said that about 135 of the violins are now on display.

Still, some say the pole is a tribute to American Indian culture. It does include large images of Geronimo, Sitting Bull and other notable tribal chiefs among its 200 or so carved figures, Also on the huge tower are faces of warriors and chiefs, thunderbirds, fish, lizards, owls and an eagle.

But other published accounts say Galloway built it after he retired so he would simply have something to do and that he believed it would be a good thing for youngsters to visit.

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