- Ketchikan, Saxman, AK
- Site Type:
- Archaeology and History, Art Works, Sculptures, Historical Restoration
- New Deal Agencies:
- Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Work Relief Programs
- Tlingit Indigenous People
- Architect Linn A. Forrest (restoration)
- Quality of Information:
- Very Good
- Site Survival:
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) established the Saxman Totem Park in 1938 and set up a totem restoration project. Tlingit carvers enrolled in the CCC lead the restoration process. The CCC relocated the Lincoln Totem pole from a village in Southeast Alaska to the new park.
Viola Garfield and Linn Forrest describe the visual characteristics of the Lincoln Totem pole in their 1961 volume, The Wolf and the Raven: “The Lincoln sculpture was in poor condition when the pole was brought to Saxman in 1938. A copy was made for the totem park, and the original was sent to the Territorial Museum in Juneau. Time and the elements have not obliterated the finely chiseled features or the careful attention to detail. Though native artists were not often called upon to carve naturalistic likenesses of real people, portrait masks and miniature figures collected from the area prove that they were thoroughly capable of such portraiture.
Though it has been impossible to establish the exact year it was dedicated, the carving of President Lincoln was raised over Tongass Village in the late 1870’s or the early 1880’s, ten to fifteen years after the events it commemorated.”
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.
Saxman Totem Park, National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1979, accessed June 28, 2017.
Garfield, Viola and Linn Forrest, 1961, The Wolf and the Raven, Seattle: University of Washington Press, p. 13-56.
Site originally submitted by Brent McKee; Steve Forrest (with documentation courtesy of Linn Forrest) on July 7, 2017.
At this Location:
- Saxman Totem Park - Saxman AK
- Saxman Totem Park, Raven Pole - Saxman AK
- Saxman Totem Park, Sun and Raven Totem Pole - Saxman AK
- Saxman Totem Park, Raven Posts - Saxman AK
- Saxman Totem Park, Raven and Frog Totem Pole - Saxman AK
- Saxman Totem Park, Memorials Of Eagle Tail House - Saxman AK
- Saxman Totem Park, Tired Wolf House Posts - Saxman AK
- Sixteen Frogs Breaker - Saxman AK
- Saxman Totem Park, the Beaver Posts - Saxman AK
- Saxman Totem Park, the Blackfish Pole - Saxman AK
- Saxman Totem Park, the Blackfish Fin - Saxman AK
- Saxman Totem Park, the Frog Tree - Saxman AK
- Saxman Totem Park, Pointing Figure - Saxman AK
- Saxman Totem Park, Giant Rock Oyster Pole - Saxman AK
- Saxman Totem Park, Secretary of State Pole (Seaward Pole) - Saxman AK
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