The Louie the Lumberjack statue inside Northern Arizona University’s Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff was beheaded — probably as a prank — after it was taken down in September during stadium renovations.
NAZ Today, which is run by the university’s students, has the story:
The university’s newspaper, Jack Central, said the headless statue was reported Oct. 12.
NAU assistant athletic director Randy Press was saddened by the news and hopes whoever stole the head returns it.
“We are very disappointed that the Louie statue was disturbed while it was in storage as we completed renovations to enhance the Skydome,” said Press. “We are hopeful that someone returns or has some information regarding the missing pieces of this iconic statue so it can placed in its permanent home after the facility enhancements are completed.”
The statue was being stored in the Facility Services area just south of the Skydome, and it was there that whoever took Louie’s head struck. Details so far are few, as the exact date of the crime is unknown. Police speculate that it took place sometime between Sept. 21 and Oct. 12.
The statue was placed in a remote location as renovations were proceeding, so it’s likely no one saw the deed. A second Louie the Lumberjack stands outside of the stadium.
I know it’s big, but not moving the statue to a secure place during renovations was boneheaded.
Sports teams at NAU have been called Lumberjacks for over 100 years.
More about the statue’s history, which has a link to Route 66:
The statues at the Skydome were first donated to NAU by the Lumberjack Café in 1973 following their construction in the 1960s by Prewitt Fiberglass in California. The statues were then moved to the Skydome, one placed inside and one outside and have been there since 1979.
The Lumberjack Cafe later became Granny’s Closet, which closed in 2016. The Louie the Lumberjack fiberglass statues date to 1963 and make a brief appearance in the seminal 1969 motorcycle road-trip movie “Easy Rider.”
If Louie’s head is recovered, the statue can be repaired. A similar Muffler Man at Lauterbach Tire in Springfield, Illinois, lost its head during a tornado in 2006, but the shop reattached it. It’s still standing along Route 66 today.
(Screen-capture image from video of Louie the Lumberjack at NAU’s Walkup Skydome)