Sunday, May 12, 2013

New Totem Pole

    "I hate surprises", Adam muttered before heading down Clearwater Road to meet with a neighbor on a recent cold April day.  He had been called by year-round resident of Clearwater Lake, Bob Olson who said he had something to show him but wouldn't say what.  An hour later Adam returned with a wide smile.  "You won't believe this", he started, "Bob carved us a new totem pole!"

      Sixty five years ago Bill Needham, already famous for his diamond willow furniture and intricate maps of the area, presented a hand carved and painted totem pole to the Schliep family, who owned Clearwater Lodge at the time.  It stood bright and proud over the parking lot for six decades, welcoming thousands of guests and posing with thousands more in photographs.  Inevitably it decayed in those decades, and in the past few years has become quite brittle.  We knew we needed to find a way to either replace it or remove it the day the wings fell off and almost landed on a by-stander.  After multiple searches turned up expensive results we pushed the problem to the bottom of the long term fix it list and that is where it remained, until last week.

      In realizing the plight of the pole and already having an interest in wood carving, Bob took it upon himself to try his first totem pole and set about carving an exact replica of Bills this past winter.  We could not believe his incredible generosity when it turned out he wanted to donate it to Clearwater Lodge.  Within a few days we had removed the old pole and replaced it with the new one, and raising the new pole was truly a group effort.   There will be an official unveiling sometime this summer so stay tuned for details.

     The new totem pole now stands as a symbol of generosity and as a connection to the past.  It adds another bend in the river of history at Clearwater Lodge and reminds us of the special people who have helped make it that way.

Once again the totem pole stands bright and proud just the way it did sixty five years ago.

1 comment:

Onee Butts said...

What an incredible feat!!!! This is a great testament to your embracing of the history of Clearwater Lodge Adam and Casey!!!
Cal and Onee Butts