March 19, 2009

Old Trapper's Lodge

Figures on benchThis is California Registered Historical Landmark No. 939. These folk art sculptures were created by John Ehn, who was born in 1897, over a 30-year period that ended with his death in 1981. The oversized figures and humorous tombstones were intended to create a vision of the mythological Old West. mock tombstone

Originally located at a motel in Sunland Sun Valley, the collection had to be relocated in the late 1980's to make room for development. It now resides on the Pierce College campus, in an out-of-the-way spot near a cow pasture and some agricultural buildings.

A plaque dated 1969 identifies this as Alvin Cleveland Park. Most people on campus (including employees) don't even know it exists. It's a cute, quiet mini-park, well shaded, with picnic tables, paved paths, and a water fountain. The day I visited, one table was occupied by a young woman peacefully studying.


  1. The Old Trapper's Lodge was NOT in Sunland, but in Sun Valley on San Fernando Road at Arvilla. I took a few pictures in 1985 before they were dump enough to tear down for Burbank Airport (Bob Hope) fueling storage. We live there for six months in 1958 when we moved from Fresno.

    Alex Reyes
    North Hollywood, CA

  2. I don't know who is responsible for the upkeep of this historical monument, but I visited today and was shocked at the disrepair, especially compared with some Flickr photos I found of their original full-color glory. Perhaps it's because people don't know about this park, or it's historical significance, or possibly because the sculptures are so NOT politically correct, but somebody needs to get out there with a can of paint and dust off the mud at the very least!

  3. I too lived there in the sixties when the old guy had a big white bear in front he had all kinds of stuffed animals everywhere I lived in a small house next door to the lodge and went to school down the street there was a junk yard next door with two big dogs mean as hell we uses to jump trains on san Fernando rd to Sun valley park I loved living there as a kid for the stuffed animals thinking I lived in the jungle and that was cool. As a kid we wet to Hanson dame to swim back then it was a big lake caught lots of fish there lots of my days were spent dreaming about the way I killed all them animals and what a big hunter I was boy them were the good old days to bad it's all gone now I ,could sit here and wright you story After story about that place but I wont just loom at it like this bs sure could make a young boy dream a d I was o s of fhem

  4. My Father owned the Gas station & Garage next to the Lodge about 1963. Sun Valley Burbank was a cool place to live. I've climbed the Foothills many times. Visited the Little Chapel on the Hill. That some how avoided the Fires year after Year. Until they moved the Chapel up near the School in La Tuna Canyon. The first fire over the hill after the chapel is gone swept right past the eucalyptus trees. Now I hear all Housing developments on the Foothills. 😥

  5. I'm looking for a man named Frank that stayed there in 1966.. he was a tall cowboy from either Tennessee or Kentucky... was married and had a few kids.... I know this is a long shot to finding him but I have to try....

  6. I did live there in the 70's Did you know a movie was shot there with Bernadette Peters and Kris Kristopherson


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