Tuesday, June 1, 2010

14 Foot Totem Pole Retired To Museum

While reviewing the blog archives I was surprised to learn that I never posted anything about our original camp totem pole that was retired a few months ago when we raised our new totem pole. I really thought that I had posted something about it but I found nothing. Therefore I'd like to share a little bit about the 14 foot totem pole that graced our camp for 18 years.

The picture to the left shows the pole back in 1993 when it was fresh, proud, and in it's glory days. (Due to Federal Hipaa laws I unfortunately had to distort faces of the people, but it was my best picture of the pole.) We cut this fine pine tree during the Thanksgiving holiday during 1991, skinned the bark off, then allowed it to dry under cover of the back porch of the dining hall for a year. Finally the carving was finished and the pole was raised with the aid of tractor hydraulics into a hole that was dug 4 feet deep.

And there it stood proudly for more than 18 years and thousands of people enjoyed it's beauty and story over all those years. But like all good things nothing lasts forever and due to decay that was creating a safety concern, we finally had to bring her down.

Just today I completed a final resting place for the only  remnants from the totem which were still solid; the wings and a section from the poles center that included the feet of the raven, the whole frog, and the beavers head. Sad that all of the pole couldn't have been saved but the internal parts of the remainder were severely rotted.

But fear not because the history of our pole has now been preserved for thousands more to learn and enjoy as we made a permanent display in an educational cabin near the woodshop. If you look at the picture to the right and directly between the wings, I placed the picture above of the totem pole back in it's glory days on the wall. Also there is a story of the totem and its meaning  that I wrote for our camp newspaper just after it was planted in the ground some 18 years ago. You can click on the images below if you'd like to see that story. Preserving history can sometimes be as important as the actual life of something and this old totem has earned its place.

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