unique California >
Tallest Totem Pole weighs 57,000 pounds, the base weighs 214,000 pounds and
the pole stands 160 feet high. It was carved from a 500-year old redwood
tree from Pacific Lumber Company. It is located in the parking lot to the
left and slightly behind Safeway on Central Avenue not far from the
Arcata-Eureka Airport (in McKinleyville). Built out of the largest tree ever
hauled across a California highway, the totem pole was carved to commemorate
the grand opening of the Mckinleyville Shopping Center. Designed in 1962 by
Ernest Pierson of Pierson’s Building Center in Eureka, he and a friend
carved the monster tree in the parking lot of the center. Pierson called his
totem a potlatch or celebration pole to celebrate the opening of the
McKinleyville Shopping Center.
We did our research
before flying to McKinleyville from Los Angeles and decided to make the
totem pole our first destination after renting a car at the airport and then
heading to Eureka. McKinleyville has several major roads with shops and
restaurants, a KMart and grocery stores. The totem pole is not difficult to
see as you drive along Central Avenue. But if you weren't looking for it,
the landmark would be easy to miss.
It rains fairly often in
this Humboldt County region and was raining the day the photo above was
taken. So tall is the pole that you can't get the detail of it in one photo.
A collage of three images is included above.
From the archives of the
Arcata Eye, billed as America's most popular obscure small town paper came
this headline, "Tanked at the Totem Pole." The one-line stated: At
5:39 p.m., Engine 5 responded to the Totem Pole behind Safeway in
McKinleyville for an intoxicated juvenile.
McKinleyville features a regional
airport, Azalea Reserve with beautiful native azaleas in bloom, Clam
Beach and Little River State Beach.