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Glenn Stark Park StatuesPublished by KingmanAdmin on Wed, 01/13/2016 - 9:31am
Glenn Stark started whittling at a very early age. His creations are countless and range from palm-size to life-size. In the 1930s, Glenn served several seasons as a fire scout and firefighter for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in northern Idaho. He joined the US Navy in 1940, and he was assigned to the battleship, USS Maryland, which sustained extensive damage during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Stark survived the attack and was involved in most of the major WWII battles in the Pacific Theater. He left the Navy in 1951 to raise his family and attend William Jewel College to become a minister. As a Baptist minister, Glenn used some of his small sculptures to illustrate messages from the Bible. Glenn’s concrete sculptures began by assembling a metal framework. Paul Handkins welded the metal together before Glenn applied concrete. Another friend, Ray Fiedler, helped move the statues once completed.
|Flying Griffin: A lady visited Italy and was impressed with an elegant home sporting a Griffin on each side of the entrance. She returned to Wellington and searched for a sculptor to construct a pair of Griffins. She was referred to Glenn, and he created two Griffin sculptures to guard the front door of her home. Glenn was so taken with the critters that he made one for himself. With his interest in archeology and ancient languages, the Griffin fit nicely in his collection. The words on the open book are PAX (peace); TIBI (pipe or flute); MAR (sea); CEAE (birthplace of Simonides, the Greek poet); VAN (to disappear); GELI (cold or frosty); STA (steady); MEVS (mine). The words are taken from the pictures of Griffins in Italy.|
|Balking Mule and Irate Farmer: The farmer and the mule seem to have different ideas of how the day should go. Glenn was raised in the country and spent many hours behind a horse or mule working the fields. It is not known if this depiction is from personal experience or if it was just his ever-present sense of humor. Glenn grew up poor, and then the Great Depression hit, so one of his recurring sayings was, “Those who talk about the good old days either didn’t live them or are senile.”|
Totem Pole: Glenn was always interested in American Indian history and culture. Totem poles are common in the Northwest. Canadian and American Indians carved their tribe’s or family’s history on the pole. Each animal used on a totem holds particular significance for the tribe. Glenn’s totem poles have arbitrarily selected animals on them, but there is always an eagle at the top.
The Good Shepherd: This parable about a lost sheep is from Luke, Chapter 15. The Good Shepherd left his flock to find the missing sheep and brought it home safely. The story illustrates that all Heaven celebrates when a lost soul is saved.
|Coyotes: Two concrete coyotes are howling at the sun—or the moon—depending on the time of day. They are ventriloquists. It sounds like their voices are coming from the bank by the river or maybe from the distant edge of town.|
|Moose: Lots of folks have deer statues in their yards, but Glenn wanted to construct the largest member of this group of wild animals. Children used a wooden ladder that Glenn constructed to climb up and sit atop the moose for fun or pictures. The family has a picture of Glenn at age 93 sitting on the moose. He was always just a kid at heart, so why not?|
|Mountain Lion & Crows: High in a cement tree reside a Mountain Lion and a Murder of Crows. Don’t get too close or lunch is served! Maybe the crows are waiting for a free meal after Mr. Puma has his fill. When Glenn completed this sculpture and set it in his yard, smaller birds kept dive-bombing the concrete crows. That had to be frustrating for the little-feathered fiends—no results for their efforts.|
Tyrannosaurus Rex: This dinosaur is snacking on a human’s lower leg. A lady asked if Glenn would construct a concrete dinosaur for her to put in her backyard. She wanted the dinosaur to look over the neighbor’s fence to bug him. When the figure was nearly finished, he called her to see it. She said she had changed her mind about putting the dinosaur by her fence, so Glenn added it to his menagerie. He was always researching the fossils of Kansas, so this fit nicely with his interests. Although not historically accurate, an observer has to wonder if the T. Rex was just finishing a meal or if the unfortunate former owner of the leg was able to hop away.
Scaled Wooden Fish Hanging from a Tree: Glenn said, “You have to be smarter than a fish to catch one.” So he had to carve one to have one.
|Two Giraffes: The stronger male is in the foreground with the gentler female behind. A lady wanted Glenn to create a giraffe for her. It came out well, so he made two more for himself.|
|Native Kansas Palm Tree: A huge apricot tree in his yard suffered severe ice storm damage. As Glenn prepared to cut it down, he visualized five sturdy branches in the shape of a hand, so he transformed it into a palm tree.|
|Bigfoot: This elusive and yet-to-be-proven figure of legend is also called the Abominable Snowman or Yeti, and is a fascination throughout the world. Folklore has it that Bigfoot mysteriously disappears by traveling forward or backward in time. Viewers can tell folks Bigfoot is real because they saw him in Kingman, Kansas!|
|Hagar the Horrible: And his duck, K-Vack. Hagar held the mailbox at Glenn’s house. Hagar is Norwegian and Glenn’s daughter-in-law's family immigrated from Norway, so Glenn always called him Uncle Hagar.|
|Cowboy Up: Since he could not outrun the bear, there was only one thing to do—Cowboy Up!|