Celebration set for Saturday for completion of Totem Pole Park restoration

After five years of work, restoration is complete of the main, 90-foot-tall totem pole at Ed Galloway’s historic Totem Pole Park near Foyil, Oklahoma.

To celebrate, the park will host a free bluegrass-music jam from 2 p.m. until dusk Saturday. Refreshments and food trucks will be there. Face masks will be suggested, and organizers say the park contains plenty of space for social distancing to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Donations will be accepted.

According to the Claremore Daily Progress, Tulsa artist Erin Turner led the big totem pole’s restoration:

Unlike the original and the first restoration, which were done with a latex paint that has a 10-year life span, Turner used a mineral-based paint that causes the pigment of crushed rocks to adhere directly to the concrete like a layer of stone.
The new paint should easily last 25 years, and will only need a clear protective coat laid over the top every 25 years thereafter to preserve the striking colors.
Turner said one of her main goals in restoring the project is similar to Galloway’s main goal in creating the totem poles to begin with – to honor the lives and memories of the American Indian.
“It has been a long process and I am amazed at how beautiful the totem pole looks. The colors are vibrant and stunning,” Anderson said. “Something to be proud of for the next generation. This should last 40-50 years. It’s been a long and expensive process but worth it.”

Turner also received assistance from the Kansas Grassroots Art Association and used old photographs to guide the restoration. More details can be found here.

Galloway built the main totem pole between 1937 and 1948, though other structures were built at the park.

The Rogers County Historical Society owns the property, and Totem Pole Park eventually was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

(Image of Totem Pole Park by Gail Lynn Rogers Tackett via Facebook)

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