There are a few spots in Nevada that I can think of that are Man Made, people of the past leaving their mark on our great lands, some in good taste, some, not so much. I wanted to share with you some hot spots across this great state, that are remnants of a great historical time before us. We’ll learn the history of why these things are done and whats the meaning of all of this. Do other states have this kind of collage of artistry?
This picture shown here is the Shoe Tree that use to reside near Middlegate, Nevada. Due to some assholes, it was cut down roughly on New Years eve 2010-2011. Sad as I have driven by this tree as a youngster and into my early twenties many,many times. If you’ve ever been out to say Kingston or Austin, you’ve driven by this tree as well. I’m kind of on the fence about this kind of public mutilation, I think it’s neat and silly and a way for people to say,” I’ve been through here”, but then the other hand is that its an eyesore and really covered with stinky shoes that will take millions of years to break down in any landfill, which we already have enough of. But there not laying all over the ground causing a giant mess, so why the hell not?! I guess? There also happens to be another Shoe Tree that I happen to know of. It’s actually out on one of the ways out my house, on 395 heading north towards Susanville, just after the exit for HWY 70 on the right hand side, you will see this big guy. Just sitting patiently for drivers to stop for a quick pic or to go through their luggage and find an un-needed pair of sneakers. Tie the strings up and let them fly.
Many, many pairs of Nike’s, Skecher’s, New Balance, Saucony and whatever else people wear these days. Multi colored, some with writing on them as if it were to be read by some one on the heavens. It’s really a sight to see.
To get some needed history on these propaganda trees, I started looking into why we do this and who started it. Going back to the days of being a kid. The story starts out that one boy bullied another boy by taking his shoes and putting them somewhere where they would be most likely unretrievable. Another story, thanks to Wikipedia that I read, was that throwing up shoes on a telephone wire was to signify that there was a crack house close by and some people referred to shoes as “crack tennis.” Also, the shoes gave the empowerment that like heroin, you’ll never leave. Other stories about the shoes symbolizing a gang members territory or death. Military deaths/training, a bullying tactic. But more inspiring stories are out there about the tying and throwing of shoes symbolizes growth like the coming of age or graduating college, a right of passage if you will. Most people do it to leave their mark on this world and to show where they have been. Leaving a neighborhood and leaving on to the next. A sort of, life memoir is left on the shoes, for another to find one day. How crazy it would be years from now, to see what some of those shoes stories say. Of course, only the person whom those shoes belong to knows the real story of why they are there. There are reportedly 76 Shoe Trees across our great country and an undetermined number in other countries.
Then there are these rock messages. Have you seen these around here? I mostly saw them outside of Fallon just before and after the Sand Mountain area and then also on the way to Salt Lake City before Wendover. They highway is lined with names, I loves you’s and forevers. Makes me wonder how many of those couples are still together today? Its a symbol, a gesture left behind by man kind. For years to come generations will make their mark here. Fun, not ruining anything, not harmful, just a powerful suggestion of sorts. I personally have not done this or thrown any shoes on the Shoe Tree, I don’t have a reason why I have not, just never have, kinda a rebel, ya know 🙂 I’ve been on countless trips out to Sand Mountain and in that moment I just enjoy looking at them and creating a story in my mind, so I don’t stop, I just live in that moment.
Moving down south to Rhyolite, this part of the silver state is just filled with oddities. A giant naked kneeling woman ( I know its Nevada, but not that kind) The Last Supper, a bottle house and a desert flower, all man, hand made with someones artistic and loving abilities.
Pretty unique right? I mean who would make a giant pink naked lady with a gold brick for a vajay jay? The pink lady or her true name, Lady Desert, the Venus of Nevada. Built by Dr Hugo Heyrman, the bright pink and yellow stand out in a desert of all dark colors. The cinder blocks are to represent pixels.
Appearing around 1984 The Last Supper creator, Belgium born sculptor Albert Szukalski, died in 2000 at age 54, he wasn’t around when they decided to put this ginormous masterpiece up on a wooden stand, but his artful legacy still lives on. He made the figures by wrapping live models in plaster-soaked fabric to achieve his Apostle o’ Shrouds effect.
All of this art work including more along this hillside is called Goldwell Open Air Museum. Just down the road from Goldwell, you’ll find Tom Kelly’s Bottle House. Made up of 30,000 bottles by a prospector who used the only building material available. It took him six months to build in the winter of 1905-06, and was abandoned with the rest of the town when the gold ran out in 1912. It lived on as a desert landmark and was featured on vintage vellum postcards. It was preserved by perservationists in 2005 and now has a fence around it to protect it’s future.
It’s really amazing to me that people make such beautiful pieces of art that through the years make it despite the harsh summer sun and the dipping below freezing temperatures of the desert winter. The amount of hard work and dedication is what prevail and it shows. There are many “attractions” like this nation wide. How fun would it be to just travel and check out all the other interesting spots out there. Anyone want to sponsor me for a future book deal on the these types of art work? No, damnit!
Going even further south into Sin City territory. There happens to be this one animal, that there is no where else in the western hemisphere, The Bramha Bull shrine right on the glitzy, cockatiled out streets of Las Vegas. You probably have walked by this statue before, but wondered what it’s purpose for being in this city is . 4 tons of bronze, standing 14 feet high, formally dedicated to Caesar’s Palace,only by strong supervision of Buddhist monks. On February 65, 1984,Thai newspaper tycoons, Mr. and Mrs. Kamphol Vacharaphol and Mr. Yip Hon, a prominent figure of Hong Kong, donated the statue and it’s the only replica in the world. The original being Erawan Shrine in Thailand near the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Both shrines house a statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of the Hindu god, Brahma.
There are so many more things to check out in Nevada. This is seriously such a small part in such a large state who isn’t afraid to be different. After all Nevada is famous for gold/mining, hookers/prostitutes and gambling. I think we set the bar for other states, we tend to be lenient in some areas, where other areas, we need help on. I think visiting each state’s attractions would be so much fun, better start playing the lottery……..which Nevada does not have 😦 Is there any spots that you can think of that I missed? If you live in another state, I’d love to hear what are some of your states attractions? Till next time, enjoy living, loving, eating and trippin out in Nevada!