Tag: williamsport

Whispering Giants: Chief Woapalanne of Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Whispering Giants: Chief Woapalanne of Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Last week I stopped in the town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania to see the Whispering Giant, Chief Woapalanne. Though he was taken out of commission from his original perch in the summer of 2015 due to rot, a rescue effort was mounted and the Giant was restored. Following a tweet from the Taber Museum, I knew he was there somewhere at the bus station.

The bus terminal does not allow car traffic to pass through, so I couldn’t even get a good look at the Google Maps Streetview to try to zero in on just where it might be located. I didn’t know if he was outside or placed inside the terminal somewhere.

After circling the block 3 or 4 times with nothing to show for it, I pulled into the municipal parking lot figuring I’d have to walk inside the bus terminal. As I pulled into a parking space, I saw the Chief’s feathers rising up from the corner of the terminal.

Whispering Giant Chief Woapalanne lives!

If you click the image below, you’ll see a full-sized pic in which you can read about the Giant’s restoration process. The most noticeable changes are that he was shortened by three feet, removing the rotten base and he is now wearing a dark stain. He is lovely.

It warms my heart to think that people cared enough to save this Giant.

If you’re interested in visiting him, the parking area on William and W. Willow will give you easy access. Looking on Google Maps, this would be the location of the statue.

Unfinished Business: The Williamsport, Pa. Whispering Giant – Woapalanee

Unfinished Business: The Williamsport, Pa. Whispering Giant – Woapalanee

In 2015, I took part in the Team Strange Whispering Giants Grand Tour. The tour brought riders around the country to visit Peter Wolf Toth‘s beautifully carved statues depicting local Native Americans.

Wacinton in Paducah, Kentucky – October 2015

When I reached Williamsport, Pennsylvania in July 2015 to visit the Giant Woapalanee that was installed in the park, I was disappointed to find that he was missing. All that was left was a pedestal and a plaque. As it turned out, I’d missed him by just a few weeks.

But, what happened to him? Would he be back?

Looking around the web, it became clear that the Giant had suffered extensive interior damage. Ultimately, it was dangerous to leave him in place because he might collapse. Though the carving was a well-loved town fixture, it ended up in a mulch pile with no immediate plans for repair. That is until this guy stepped in to save him.

Encouraging!

Based on that post, I took a look at the Thomas Taber Museum website. I thought for sure that such a grand piece of artwork would be prominently displayed. My giddy hopefulness quickly fizzled. Though there were 3 nicely carved small Woapolanee pieces, there was no Whispering Giant anywhere on the museum’s site.

So, I dropped a quick tweet:

*ding*ding*ding*

You’ll probably think I’m ridiculous, but I actually woohoo-ed when I read the reply.

Firstly, I’m happy to know that there were people in Williamsport who cared enough to keep Woapalanee from being termite-chow and returning to the Earth. Perhaps that is ultimately the wooden carving’s rightful, natural place, but selfishly, I want the work to live, to inspire and to be enjoyed.

Secondly, and I hadn’t considered this before, but I deeply appreciate the people out there in the world who take the time to write down their experiences. Without this man writing about everyday goings-on in Williamsport, I would’ve had no idea where to look for information about the missing Giant.

Some people may write off personal blogging as useless time-filler about what you ate for lunch but, the people who do it, whether they know it or not, contribute to documenting contemporary life. I’m going to try to remember that when I feel like people on the other side of my blog are rolling their eyes at the stuff I stop and take photographs of. If just one person finds it useful – be it for a laugh, inspiration or something else, then I will have done something good.

Now… I’ve got to go see about a Giant!

Whispering Giants Grand Tour: Williamsport, Pa. Giant is Missing

Whispering Giants Grand Tour: Williamsport, Pa. Giant is Missing

The Williamsport, Pa. Whispering Giant was right up the block from the hotel I stayed at in town. My plan for the day was to swing by, take a picture of it and then head off towards Lock Haven to start a ride loop.

When I pulled up the spot where I’d seen it on Google Streetview there was… nothing.

fuzzygalore at the williamsport pa whispering giant

I parked and walked up to find only the pedestal and plaque remaining. My heart broke a little.

One of my friends who is also doing the Whispering Giant Grand Tour posted a photo of it on Facebook in April, so I knew it hadn’t been missing for long. I was bummed.

missing williamsport whispering giant

Now that I have had an opportunity to search the web, it seems that the Giant was removed in mid-June. I came up a day late and a dollar short on seeing Chief Woapalanee.

Other Posts about Whispering Giants

 

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