Eagle Totem at Mud BightPhoto courtesy of Linn A. Forrest.
The Eagle Grave Market Pole is a totem carved in the 1930s by John Wallace. The original was located in the old village of Howkan. The carving found today at the Totem Bight State Historical Park was reproduced from memory by John Wallace. Wallace’s carving has a Chilkat blanket, which is an uncommon detail for this type of totem, and was not present in the original design. The totem is 10’ high and has a 42” base below ground. The design of the blanket evokes clouds, mountains, and the symbolic characters that live in the forest.
The photographic material published here 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.
Garfield, Viola and Linn Forrest, 1961, The Wolf and the Raven, Seattle: University of Washington Press, p. 71-99.
Totem Bight State Historic Site, National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1970, accessed July 15, 2017.
Totem Bight State Historical Park, Master Development Plan, Department of Natural Resources, 2013, accessed July 15, 2017.
Totem Bight State Historical Park, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, accessed July 15, 2017.
Project originally submitted by Steve Forrest (with documentation courtesy of Linn Forrest); Brent McKee on July 19, 2017.
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