John Ehn’s Boot Hill

We were looking forward to a meeting of the LA Heritage Alliance yesterday at Pierce College's Farm Center, for an excuse to check out The Old Trapper's Boot Hill sculptures.

Now I'm turnin' to roadside America's site for the explanation:

"The statues were built by an aged visionary named John Ehn. Proud of his pioneer ancestry, he called himself "The Old Trapper" and spent the last thirty years of his life crafting his masterworks, using his family and himself as models, a classic victim of dementia concretia. He displayed the finished sculptures at his motel near Burbank Airport, which he named The Old Trapper's Lodge.

Ehn was 84 when he died in 1981. His creations were declared a California state cultural landmark four years later. Culture, however, rarely stops progress in Southern California. Bulldozers arrived to level The Old Trappers Lodge in the late 1980s. The statues were imperiled. And here's where the story gets murky… "


Long story short, they got moved to Pierce College, specifically Cleveland Park, behind the old chicken coop. And they're just awesome. Whn had a real obsession with the concept of "boot hill." Now wheter the inhabitants of his boot hill were real people or characters he imagined, I don't know, but I hope I get te chance to buy the Old Trapper and all his friends a round in the Afterlife. Weve got Pegleg Smith duking it out with Chief Big Bear, a bunch of "soiled doves" and prospecters, and an entire population of headstones of the dearly departed, including a gal who was knifed by Sweet Violet fer watering her whiskey; can't we all just git along? 

Pierce College was founded as an agricultural school and they're starting to turn back to their roots. We had a terrific tour of their teaching farm and I'll be covering that in a later post.


~ by ravenjake on May 2, 2010.

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