On the Trail of the Whispering Giants

What is a Whispering Giant?

The Whispering Giants are a collection of sculptures created by artist Peter Wolf Toth. Toth, who was born in Hungary, began his mission to create a statue honoring indigenous peoples, who were often victims of injustice, in North America. The project began in the 1970s with each of the 50 states receiving at least one sculpture from Toth throughout the subsequent decades. Each Whispering Giant statue is carved from a single piece of wood, and can stand up to an impressive 40 feet tall. The only known exception is the first statue – a rock carving in La Jolla, California.

Where are the Whispering Giants?

The original project slated at least one Whispering Giant for every US state. Some states like Illinois, Massachusetts, and North Carolina for example are fortunate enough to have multiple sculptures. However, time and the elements aren’t always kind. As a result, the loss of some Giants happened along the way. It is unclear if there is a single reliable source for the exact count of the remaining sculptures on display.

Wikipedia actually has a some updated information about their locations and condition notes. David Schumaker‘s website is also a wonderful resource.

This is not my map, but this is also available:

I would strongly recommend cross-checking more than one information source if you decide to hit the road and visit any of the Whispering Giants.


Whispering Giant Photos and Field Notes

My personal journey to visit the Whispering Giants started in 2015 when I participated in the Team Strange Whispering Giants Grand Tour. It was then that I pinned every known location of a Whispering Giant to my own Google Map. Now, whenever I am close to one of the sculpture locations, I try to make it a point to visit.

Between the weather, pests, and their age, we can’t always count on them being there for our next visit. Revisiting them over time or documenting their condition seems like a worthwhile effort.

I hope you enjoy this pics from along the way.


Arizona

Winslow, Arizona is probably most commonly known for being part of the Route 66 lore and the whole “standin’ on a corner” phenomenon but, did you know that just around the corner from that corner is a Whispering Giant?

Standing tall and in seemingly good shape out in the unrelenting sun, you’ll find this giant standing not on a corner on W. 1st Street.

trail of the whisperign giants - winslow, arizona - peter wolf toth sculpture
October 2023
trail of the whisperign giants - winslow, arizona - peter wolf toth sculpture
October 2023

Google Maps


Delaware

Chief Little Owl is on display in Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Chief Little Owl Bethany Beach Delaware Whispering Giant
Chief Little Owl – August 2015

Notes: Original statue by Peter Toth was removed because of decay. A second statue was carved by Dennis Beach and lasted until about 2000 and removed. The present statue was carved by Peter Toth and dedicated in 2002.

DCSchumaker.com

Google Maps


Kansas

Tall Oak in Troy, Kansas stands 27 feet tall on the grounds of the Doniphan County Courthouse.

April 2023
Tall Oak
By Peter Wolf Toth
A History
David Sheppard and Dean O’Bannon found ‘Tall Oak’ in Rushville, Mo. The tree was donated to the Doniphan County Chamber of Commerce by Warren & Dorothy Rose. The name “Tall Oak” was given to the tree by Sherry Muse, 3rd grade class of the Elwood Elementary School. The sculpture was dedicated on the Doniphan County Courthouse lawn on September 29, 1979.

Doniphan County Chamber of Commerce
Director – Jack Teegarden
President – James Needham

To the American Indian
Sculpture by Peter Toth

Dedicated Sept. 29, 1979
by Governor John Carlin

Google Maps


Kentucky

It isn’t hyperbole when I say that as the 35-foot Wacinton came into view that the word “wow,” involuntarily escaped from my lips. Hands down, he is my favorite Whispering Giant that I have visited.

In November 2015, a large portion of the beautiful headdress of the statue fell to the ground and required repair, as reported by a story from KFVS 12. This occurred a mere month after I took photos of the statue in October 2015.

Peter Wolf Toth restored and fortified Wacinton in 2016. Joshua Roberts reported on the statue’s rededication in a Paducah Sun article in 2017.

Wacinton - Whispering Giant - Paducah, Kentucky - October 2015
Wacinton – Paducah, Kentucky – October 2015
Wacinton - Whispering Giant - Paducah, Kentucky - October 2015
Wacinton – Paducah, Kentucky – October 2015
Wacinton - Whispering Giant - Paducah, Kentucky - October 2015
Wacinton – Paducah, Kentucky – October 2015
Wacinton - Whispering Giant Sign - Paducah, Kentucky - October 2015
Inscription:
Wacinton
(To have understanding)
Hand chiseled from a local 56,000 pound Red Oak to honor the Chickasaw Indians who lived and hunted in this area until the Jacson Purchase, 1818. By Sculptor Peter “Wolf” Toth
Dedicated May 26, 1985 to the City of Paducah and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Mayor Joe Viterisi
Commissioners 
P.J. Grumley – Harold form – Robert Coleman – Hal Cole

Google Maps


Maryland

2015

In 2022, Nanticoke received some TLC by Peter Toth – features video:

WBOC – Ocean City Sculpture Gets a Facelift

Google Maps


Massachusetts

Springfield, Ma.

My very fist visit to a Whispering Giant in 2015 was Omiskanoagwiak in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Plaque Inscription:
THE TRAIL OF THE “WHISPERING GIANT”
“OMISKANOAGWIAK” THE WOLF PEOPLE-MEDICINE MAN
Dedicated to the: PIONEER VALLEY INDIANS
SCULPTOR: PETER WOLF TOTH
MAYOR: RICHARD E. NEAL
COURTESY: CITY OF SPRINGFIELD PARK COMMISSIONERS
SPONSOR: JOSEPH J. DELISO, SR.
NOVEMBER 13, 1984

Plymouth, Ma.

This is Enisketomp in Plymouth, Massachusetts. You’ll find him located on a pedestal at a rest stop on Route 3 strangely enough in front of a McDonalds. This setting seemed to me like a bit of a bummer when I was standing there looking at the piece. Dozens of people just walked by it without a second thought.

There was something about this peculiar setting that made me think of the song I used to hear my dad sing when I was little about Kaw-Liga the Wooden Indian. Thinking about it even now makes me feel melancholy and sad inside my belly.

Plaque Inscription:
ENISKETOMP
“HUMAN BEING”
TRAIL OF THE WHISPERING GIANTS
SCULPTURED GIFT TO THE PEOPLE OF MASSACHUSETTS BY PETER “WOLF” TOTH JULY 24, 1983.

Google Maps


New York

Ong-Gwe-Ohn-Weh of Dunkirk, New York.

July 2015
Inscription:
This wooden sculpture of an American Indian was created by Peter Toth of Akron, Ohio in 2 months time during the summer of 1973. It was carved from the lower trunk of a dead elm tree located near the corner of 5th St. & (illegible transcription). Upon completion the work of art was moved to this site where it was dedicated Sunday, Oct. 21, 1973 and accepted on behalf of the city of Dunkirk by Mayor Clemens J. Lutz. The sculptor donated his time, effort & resultant work of art to the city. Mr. Toth has created a number of other, similar works throughout the country and hopes to eventually have one in each state of the union. He is an ardent champion for the cause of the American Indian, and stated his mission is to bring into focus in the minds of Americans everywhere the plight of this nation’s original citizens.

Google Maps


North Carolina

Sequoyah stands outside of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, NC.

October 2018
Inscription:
SEQUOYAH / THIS STATUE HONORING SEQUOYAH, THE CHEROKEE GENIUS WHO / INVENTED THE CHEROKEE ALPHABET, WAS SCULPTED FROM A SINGLE / GIANT CALIFORNIA SEQUOIA (REDWOOD) LOG WHICH WAS / DONATED AND SHIPPED BY GEORGIA-PACIFIC.
THIS IS SCULPTOR WOLF TOTH’S 63RD STATUE ACROSS THE / UNITED STATES AND CANADA COMMEMORATING THE / CONTRIBUTIONS OF NATIVE AMERICANS. TOTH WAS INVITED TO / SCULPT THE SEQUOYAH STATUE BY CHIEF ROBERT S. YOUNGDEER / AND MUSEUM DIRECTOR KEN BLANKENSHIP.
DEDICATED: SEPTEMBER 30, 1989

Sequoyah the man had a very interesting life worth reading about.

Google Maps


Ohio

While touring around Pennsylvania in the summer of 2015, I made a detour to visit Akron, Ohio to see the Whispering Giant there. His name was Rotaynah – the Tuscarora word for chief.

I recall at the time it was hot and muggy and I kept second guessing my decision to ride a 150 miles round trip out of the way on a boring highway ride. But, when I saw the statue in person, those feelings subsided. The sight was arresting.

When I visited, I noticed some restoration work done on the base of the figure. I was optimistic that it would help ensure its longevity, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. The statue was gone a mere three years later.

News 5 Cleveland reported that in 2018, Rotaynah was unfortunately removed. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to see it.

While looking for more info about his I came across this article from the Akron Beacon Journal which noted that Rotaynah also had feathers up until 2011!

Pro Tip: Make the detour.

Rotaynah - Akron Ohio Whispering Giant - Removed from viewing  in 2018
Rotaynah – Akron, Ohio – 2015
Rotaynah - Akron Ohio Whispering Giant - Removed from viewing  in 2018
Akron, Ohio – 2015
Rotaynah - Akron Ohio Whispering Giant - Removed from viewing  in 2018
Rotaynah – Akron, Ohio – 2015
Rotaynah - Akron Ohio Whispering Giant - Removed from viewing  in 2018
Inscription:
Rotaynah
(Chief)
Trail of the Whispering Giants
This 51st statue honors all of the Native Americans of Ohio. Dedicated to Chief Tecumseh of the Shawnee and Chief Little Turtle of the Miami.
Sculpted by Peter “Wolf” Toth
Dedicated August 9, 1985
Image Source: Akron Beacon Journal

Google Maps – Former Location


Pennsylvania

Sharon, Pa

Dating back to 1973, this statue in a Sharon, Pennsylvania rest stop is one of the earlier carvings. He is statue number 6.

My visit took place in the summer of 2015. At that time significant rot and previous attempts at repair or stabilization were apparent. I hope he’s still standing.

July 2015
Dedicated to the American Indians (Seneca) 
…But they won’t be forgotten, but will be remembered in our minds and in our hearts. Love is life.
Peter Toth
June 30, 1973

Google Maps

Williamsport, Pa

Tracking down the Williamsport Whispering Giant didn’t go exactly as I’d initially planned. On my first trip through the area, I was participating in a rally, and I decided I didn’t have time to make a pitstop, so I rolled through town skipping the pin on my map.

Little did I know that by skipping the stop, my next trip to Williamsport to see the giant specifically would end in disappointment. I literally missed seeing the giant by a matter of weeks. Woapalanee was removed from his perch because of rot.

When I first started searching for information, it was a challenge to determine if the statue was still standing or if it had been destroyed. However, in the fall of 2017, I was able to use the power of the internet to track down the repaired sculpture at its new location in the Williamsport bus station.

It was evident that the statue had undergone repairs, including a shorter base and a new stain. I’m optimistic that these alterations will make the statue more resilient against the elements in the long run.

Google Maps


Rhode Island

Enishkeetompauog Narragansett, RI

ENISHKEETOMPAUOG NARRAGANSETT whispering giant rhode island
Inscription:
ENISHKEETOMPAUOG NARRAGANSETT
CREATED BY SCULPTOR PETER TOTH
STONEWORK BY THE NARRAGANSETT INDIANS
DEDICATED AUGUST 12, 1982

Google Maps


Vermont

Chief Grey Lock in Burlington, Vermont stands 24 feet tall to the top of his feathers. Aside from the obvious split, at the time of my visit in the fall of 2015, he was in generally good shape overall.

chief grey lock whispering giant statue burlington vermont
Chief Grey Lock – Burlington, Vermont – September 2015
chief grey lock whispering giant statue burlington vermont
Chief Grey Lock – Burlington, Vermont – September 2015
Inscription:
Chief Grey Lock
Abenaki legend holds that Odzihozo, the creator of the Champlain Valley, turned himself into a rock island, which can be seen through the bandshell window to your left, so that he might view the valley forever. This statue honors Chief Grey Lock and all Indians indigenous to Vermont. Dedicated July 22, 1984. It is the 47th of 50 state statues donated by sculptor Peter Wolf Toth to heighten the nation’s appreciation for it’s Native-American citizens. 

Google Maps


Virginia

Tucked away under a canopy of trees at the curiously-named Mount Trashmore Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia, you’ll find a Whispering Giant.

whispering giant statue virginia beach virginia

Google Maps


Wyoming

Side Notes – Take the Picture

In a recent post Sighting: Patch Whisky and Ghostbeard, I mentioned hanging on to photos for later because I might “need” them? Well, my very first unaware encounter with a Whispering Giant was the perfect example of that. I snapped a picture of one while sitting at a traffic light in Worland, Wyoming. It was a decade later that I pulled that photo out of it’s dusty corner, recalling what I’d seen. Take the picture!

whispering giant statue worland wyoming
Worland, Wyoming – 2005

Google Maps


More Posts about Whispering Giants

Other Whispering Giant Resources

Fuzzygalore

Rachael is the whimsical writer behind the 20+ year old Girlie Motorcycle Blog. As a freelance blogger, she is on a mission to inspire laughter, self-examination, curiosity, and human connection. Girlie Motorcycle Blog can be found on several Best Motorcycle Blog lists.

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9 Responses

  1. Sumoflam says:

    So glad there are at least two of us documenting these. I have visited 20 so far and hope to hit up to 10 more in the SE in 2023. I have become friends with Peter Toth over the years as well. Thanks for your great collection here Fuzzy!

  2. Wow! I had never before heard about these wonderful sculptures, they are so mesmerisingly beautiful both in form and for what/who they commemorate.
    Thank you for sharing with us!
    Dookes

  3. I appreciate the practical travel tips and tricks shared on your blog. From money-saving hacks to efficient packing advice, your insights have helped me streamline my travel planning process. Your blog is a valuable resource for any globetrotter!

  4. Lynn Snyder says:

    Hi. Peter has a beautiful outdoor art gallery and studio in my little town here in Edgewater Florida. He’s a wonderful person and an amazing artist. He has plans for 4 new statues I would really like to see him complete. I’m trying to help him get it rolling by asking people to share his gofundme he just made for these projects if you would be so kind. Thanks. Happy journeys! https://www.gofundme.com/f/donate-to-help-the-trail-of-the-whispering-giants

    • Carl roberts says:

      I have brought a building in Kingsport tn. for the purpose of preserving the WG in JC tn. Along with as many as possible. I’m setting up a non profit called PAL’S Preserving America ‘s Landmarks. Any and all pictures of the WG’s are needed . Please be come a PAL for the Great WG’s of America. Please feel free to contact me speak now listening

  5. Carl roberts says:

    I have brought a building in Kingsport tn. for the purpose of preserving the WG in JC tn. Along with as many as possible. I’m setting up a non profit called PAL’S Preserving America ‘s Landmarks. Any and all pictures of the WG’s are needed . Please be come a PAL for the Great WG’s of America. Please feel free to contact me speak now listening

  6. Lydia-Faith Toth says:

    Hi! I just wanted to thank you for doing this—Peter Wolf Toth is my great-uncle and I’ve been trying to find someone who has visited many of his statues so I could travel to those places myself. I’m so grateful for this article!

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