Mystery totem pole shows up at Stockton park, artist not found

Stockton residents perplexed over how a totem pole popped up in a community park.

Stocktonians who have lived in their town for decades it was a welcome and familiar sight.

It was a totem pole that suddenly went up last Sunday night at the city's Victory Park.

"I was driving down Pershing after a meeting and out of the corner of my eye I saw something there and I thought that wasn't there yesterday," said John Alita, City of Stockton Community Services Director.

The colorful pole went up at the very same spot where another iconic totem pole was positioned for close to 70 years.

Known as the Tagcook Totem, it was carved by a Native American tribe in Alaska, owned by a Stockton car dealership and donated to the city and placed at the park in 1932.

It stood 46 feet tall and was said to be the tallest totem pole in the country according to newspaper accounts of the time.

The new pole is made from hollow cardboard tubing for cement and Styrofoam.

The city took it down on Tuesday. 

So far, the creator has yet to come forward.

For now, the city is holding the art work in storage.

It's trying to decide what to do with it or how to display it.

"We're still hoping to talk to the artist. I think it would be great if we displayed it for a little while," Alita said.

It’s 15 feet tall, a foot in diameter.

A totem pole suddenly appeared a few days ago at Stockton’s Victory Park.

“I was actually driving down Pershing after a meeting and in the corner of my eye I actually saw something there and I thought that wasn’t there yesterday," said John Alita, the Stockton Community Services Director.

Alita says the colorful totem is the work of a mystery artist.

“I myself admire when interesting people, creative people do you know do unexpected things," said Alita.

The pole is made of hollow cardboard made for cement forms and Styrofoam.

It appeared at the park Sunday night, but was removed Tuesday afternoon for what the city called "safety reasons."

Coincidentally, the pole went up in the same spot where another totem pole stood for nearly 70 years before it was taken down in the late 1990’s.

It was donated to the city by a car dealership.

It went up in 1932 and was carved by a Native American tribe in Alaska.

It stood 46 feet tall and 34 inches in diameter.

“When my daughter came to give me the kids, she said mom they put the totem pole back up," said Mary Garcia.

Garcia has lived across the street from the park 37 years.

She was pleasantly surprised to see the totem pole returned, only to realize it wasn’t the original.

“I don’t know who put it up. I didn’t see anybody put it up. I know it wasn’t up Sunday night when I went to bed at 11. It was not up then," she said.

Like Garcia, park visitors like Tim Jones in agreement, saying, a totem pole of some kind should return.

“Heck yeah. That would be awesome. It doesn’t hurt anything. The kids and everything. It gives them a site to see and stuff," said Jones.

For now, the city is keeping the pole in storage. They would like display it and hope the mystery artist will come forward to claim the work.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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