Ed Galloway's Totem Pole Park consists of eleven objects and one building on 14 acres in Rogers County, in northeastern Oklahoma. The park is ten miles north-east of Claremore and is located 3.5 miles east of historic U.S. Route 66 and Foyil. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 30, 1999. It is owned and operated by the Rogers County Historical Society and the Foyil Heritage Association. The park's main totem pole is billed as the "World’s Largest Concrete Totem Pole."
The park was constructed by Ed Galloway (b. 1880 in Springfield, Missouri; d. 1961 in Foyil, Oklahoma). A US Army veteran who had served in the Philippines, he began carving monumental sculptures from tree trunks when he returned to the United States after his military service. In 1914, his work attracted the interest of Tulsa-based philanthropist Charles Page, who employed him as a manual arts teacher at the Children's Home orphanage in Sand Springs, Oklahoma.
Upon his retirement in 1937, Galloway moved to a small farm near Foyil, located 10 miles north-east of Claremore and 3.5 miles east of historic U.S. Route 66. He soon began work on a totem pole, which he built using modern building materials, including six tons of steel, 28 tons of cement, and 100 tons of sand and rock. In 1948, Galloway completed the totem pole, which had a completed height of approximately. At its base, the totem pole is 30 ft wide, and it rests on the back of a turtle, referring to a Native American creation story about the world. The entire totem pole is decorated with approximately 200 bas relief images, which include brightly colored Native American portraits, symbols, and animal figures.
The park also features Galloway's eleven-sided "Fiddle House," which is supported inside and out by 25 concrete totem poles. It previously housed his hand-carved fiddles, handmade furniture, and bas relief portraits of all of the US Presidents up to John F. Kennedy. Many of the items in the Fiddle House were stolen in 1970 and never recovered. The park also contains four smaller concrete totems, two ornate concrete picnic tables with animal-form seats, a barbecue, and four sets of animal-form gateposts.
Galloway lived at and worked on the park every day up to his death in 1962 of cancer. Some say that he hoped to use his work to educate young people about Native Americans, but others say that he thought the park would be a good place for youngsters, Boy Scouts in particular, to visit.
In the decades following Galloway's death, the sculptures began to deteriorate from weather and neglect. In the 1990s, the Kansas Grassroots Art Association led an extensive restoration effort. The outdoor sculptures were restored and repainted, and the Fiddle House was brought back from the brink of collapse. It was adapted as the Fiddle House Museum and Gift Shop. The park and its structures are owned and operated by the Rogers County Historical Society and the Foyil Heritage Association.
If you have other places you are going to it is worth the stop. We drove out there just to see the Totem, I think it was about 30 mins from Hwy 44. We made the mistake of driving about there about 8pm so by the time we got there it was dark and hard to see. Also make sure you have some change with you when you are going back on the Hwy, the toll both is change only. Thankfully someone before us had dropped a few quarters on the ground.
This is a forgotten gem! The totems are fascinating and the gift shop is very educational. A MUST see in your roadtrip
Ok. Hours are wrong open at 12 noon.
Didn't get to see gift shop
This was one of our favorite stops. It is almost a religious experience as there was no one on this property except myself and my friend, and the girl that works in the gift shop/museum. The totem pole is beautiful, the other statues are amazing, and it's all very private and FREE (which I loved). The location had its own parking lot, too, which was great. If traveling with kids, pack a lunch because this property would be a great picnic stop. There are other statues and a carved table and chairs set, great for kids.
The The only issue we had with the app getting us here was that the location in Google Maps said it was on the right side of the road, not the left side...but luckily its pretty hard to miss a 90' by 54' totem pole.
This is a lot neater than you would think! It's very tall, worth the stop to snag a few pics.
Dog friendly, decent sized parking lot, picnic tables, gift shop (was closed when we were there,) off the beaten path, interesting, artistic, quirky, and it's free!
A good place to stop and stretch your legs. Went when it was cold and the store was closed (and we were the only people there). The actual art is very cool- would recommend if you have a few extra minutes to get off the highway to get there.
Arrived late & missed the gift shop. Interesting totem, not made out of wood. Really off the beaten path.
Hours wrong don't open till 12 noon. Good photos didn't get to. See inside totem pole or gift shop.
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Worlds Largest Concrete Totem Pole
- Sun - Sat: 6:00 am - 8:00 pm
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