A wooden totem pole carved from an old burr oak tree trunk will soon add to the beauty of Simpson Park.
A wooden totem pole carved from an old burr oak tree trunk will soon add to the beauty of Simpson Park. This totem pole will be the fifth wood carving to be incorporated into the park. The first carving was of a black bear (now named Livingston) in May 2014. Since the black bear carving, there has been a lion carving (April 2015), a bear cub carving (June 2015) and an eagle carving (July 2015). Josh Norris, Chillicothe Parks Department director, said the totem pole will be a memorial for the late Gary Clampitt (who enjoyed wood carving), and it is privately funded. The burr oak tree (which is now just a large 30-foot trunk sticking out of the ground), located just east of the Rotary Club shelter house in Simpson Park, will be used to make the totem pole. Twenty feet of the trunk will be used for the totem pole and the remaining 10 feet will be used for a future project. The old trunk will be cut down and local artist, Steve Holt (who has created all of the wood carvings in Simpson Park), will carve the totem pole as it lays on the ground. Only one side of the trunk will be carved and will not be three-dimensional like past projects. It will be what Norris describes as a “relief carving.” Various animals will be carved into the wood and all will be stacked on top of one another. An eagle will top the totem pole. This eagle will be carved separately and be three-dimensional. Once the totem pole has been carved, it will be relocated. Currently, there is an old, short tree stump in the middle of Walnut Street in Simpson Park, just east of the croquet courts. What is now a stump used to be a 40-foot to 50-foot white oak tree. This tree was struck by lightning about six years ago and had to be taken down. The remaining stump will be removed, a concrete pad will be poured in its place and the totem pole will be placed on top of the concrete pad. The totem pole will not be placed down into the concrete pad, but rather attached to the concrete by a large spike that will be driven up into the center of the totem pole. There will also be a notch cut out of the wood that will run up the back side of the pole (on the opposite side of the relief carving). Square tubing will fill the notch and will be secured with bands to better support the large wooden sculpture. The eagle on top of the totem pole will face south toward the ball field and the relief carving side of the pole will face north toward the Country Club, according to Norris. Norris said he hopes to cut down and move the old trunk next week, weather permitting. He expects the carving to take about a month, and he hopes to have the entire project completed by the end of May. Norris said that in addition to the totem pole, the community can expect one to two more wood carvings to be added to the park this summer.