Join Esotouric, L.A.’s most eclectic sightseeing tour company, for the fifth in an occasional series of free webinars exploring timely historic preservation issues and how YOU can get involved.
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In a remote section of the campus of Pierce College in the San Fernando Valley, there is a remarkable and little known folk art environment, Old Trapper’s Lodge (California State Landmark 939.5)—but it might not be there for much longer.
During the pandemic lockdown, while the campus was closed to visitors, some members of the Pierce community hatched a secretive plan to brand the landmark as too racist to remain on campus. Their scheme was based on a flawed and superficial interpretation, and ignored the fact that the sculptures represent artist John Ehn’s own Native American family members.
Then, Los Angeles Community College District administrators spent nearly $30,000 in public funds on a professional art appraisal and report, which described in minute detail how Pierce College should safely pack up and move the delicate sculptures to a new home.
But the appraisal and report was never shared with the public. Instead, LACCD voted to dispose of Old Trapper’s Lodge under the deliberately deceptive phrasing, “Approve Donation of Surplus Property at Pierce College.” Then they let an amateur crew associated with Valley Relics Museum dig up the Boot Hill Cemetery portion of the landmark and cart it off in the back of a pick up truck.
And it was after seeing the small sculptures treated like yard waste that artist John Ehn’s family said “Enough!”
You can read much more about the situation at Old Trapper’s Lodge on our preservation campaign advocacy webpage, including links to all the important documents.
Next week, Pierce College has threatened to dispose of Old Trapper’s Lodge if the Ehn Family doesn’t come and personally collect the huge and heavy sculptures.
We join the Ehn Family in asking Pierce College to stop making threats, and do what it should have done in the beginning: secure the artwork, issue a public RFP (Request For Proposals) to find a suitable new home for Old Trapper’s Lodge, and to work with that new home on a safe and appropriate art transit plan, to ensure this California State Landmark can be preserved and enjoyed for generations to come.
Our guests for this special webinar are John Ehn’s grand-daughter Marsha Klopfenstein and great-granddaughter Kristen Cassidy. In an original short film produced by preservation storyteller Damian Sullivan, you’ll tag along as Marsha and Kristen pay their first visit to Old Trapper’s Lodge since the Boot Hill Cemetery sculptures were brutally dug out of the ground, to reconnect with the sculptures that represent their beloved family members, share stories of grandfather John Ehn’s creativity and larger than life personality, and to express their profound concerns about how poorly Pierce College is treating the landmark, the community and their family.
Then we’ll take your questions about Old Trapper’s Lodge, how it was saved from demolition in the 1980s, and the current campaign to protect it, and what we all hope will happen next.
This webinar is an illustrated lecture that will bring the history and future of Old Trapper’s Lodge to life, while inspiring you to look around your own community for ways you can help to keep old places around with fresh new uses. And you’ll find the look of an Esotouric webinar is a little different than your standard dry Zoom session, with lively interactive graphics courtesy of the mmhmm app. So tune in and discover the incredible history of Los Angeles, with the couple whose passion for the city is infectious. Can’t join in when the webinar is happening? You can tune in later, though you’ll miss the opportunity to ask questions in the chat.
FYI: Immediately upon registering, you will receive a separate, automated email containing the link to join the webinar. The webinar is reliable on all devices, Mac, PC, iOS and Android.
About Esotouric: As undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz, Kim Cooper and Richard Schave inexplicably hated one another on sight. (Perhaps less inexplicably, their academic advisor believed they were soul mates). A chance meeting 18 years later proved much more agreeable. Richard wooed Kim with high level library database access, with which she launched the 1947project true crime blog, highlighting a crime a day from the year of The Black Dahlia and Bugsy Siegel slayings. The popular blog’s readers demanded a tour, and then another. The tour was magical, a hothouse inspiring new ways for the by-then-newlyweds to tell the story of Los Angeles. Esotouric was born in 2007 with a calendar packed with true crime, literary, architecture and rock and roll tours. Ever since, it has provided a platform for promoting historic preservation issues (like the Save the 76 Ball campaign and the landmarking of Charles Bukowski’s bungalow), building a community of urban explorers (including dozens of free talks and tours under the umbrella of LAVA) and digging even deeper into the secret heart of the city they love.
Rights and permissions: By attending an Esotouric webinar, you acknowledge that the entirety of the presentation is copyrighted, and no portion of the video or text may be reproduced in any fashion.