Sea Serpent PolePhotographed circa 1940-1945. Photo courtesy of Linn A. Forrest.
Tlingit craftsmen enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) restored the Sea Serpent Pole in 1940. The restoration was part of a larger U.S. Forest Service program focused on the restoration of totems and Native cultural assets. Seven of the poles surrounding the Clan House at the Chief Shakes Historic Site are reproductions of older poles, while two are originals. All were carved in 1940 as a Civilian Conservation Corps project.
Part of the photographic material published on this page by the Living New Deal was provided by courtesy of Linn A. Forrest (1905-1986), a practicing architect who photographed the totem poles at the time of their restoration, between 1939 and 1941. Forrest oversaw the joint program of the Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps to recruit Alaska native carvers in the restoration and recarving of totem poles throughout Southeast Alaska. Employed by the U.S. Forest Service in Oregon, Forrest transferred to Juneau, Alaska in 1937, where he undertook the totem restoration as one of his first projects. Under his supervision, indigenous carvers preserved and restored 103 totem poles and three Tlingit and Haida community houses. Forrest documented the restoration process and maintained notes and a photo record of a significant portion of the work. He used a Leica camera designed for the then new Kodachrome 35mm color slide format.
Chief Shakes Historic Site, Shakes Island, National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1970, accessed July 27, 2017.
Project originally submitted by Steve Forrest (with documentation courtesy of Linn Forrest); Brent McKee on July 28, 2017.
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