Two Artists Restoring Iconic Totem Pole Along Route 66

Wednesday, July 15th 2015, 8:00 pm
By: News On 6

In 1948, Ed Galloway finished what became the world's tallest concrete totem pole in Rogers County; ever since, it's been an iconic Route 66 landmark.

Now, two young women who grew up in Tulsa and never knew of the Totem Pole are working to preserve it for future generations.

Margo Hoover and Erin Turner are using power washers to get the paint off a section of the Totem pole.

"Kind of feels like a water park when you are up there, constant mist," Turner said.

The young artists fell in love with the nearly 70-year-old landmark and were stunned they didn't know it was here.

"Blown away. This was an hour from where I grew up and I'd never heard of it before," said Turner.

They grew up in Tulsa, went off to different art schools and started careers - Erin in Brooklyn, New York, Margo teaches art in Oakland, California - but for the next six weeks they'll be removing the old latex paint and repainting with a more durable mineral based paint.

While they're doing that, the tourists keep coming. Totem Pole Park Director David Anderson said they get about 10,000 people signing the guest book every year.

"Over 1,000 of those will be from out of the United States," he said.

Route 66 and its landmarks are still tourist attractions after all these years, and the two young artists who've just discovered this one, are working in the summer heat to preserve it.

The lower part was redone a few years ago so they are working just above that and will work up.

The Park and the Historical Society are still fundraising to finish the project and if you’d like to help, there’s more information online.