One of California’s more mysterious landmarks, the George Hicks Fancher Monument is actually a testament to one man’s dying wish.
Fancher was a wealthy California rancher and he made sure people would remember that. His will stipulated that $25,000 be used to erect a monument in his honor and the product was the 68-foot tall granite plinth towering just off the California 140 highway. When the obelisk was being planned, a local schoolteacher even lobbied to use the funds to build a library in the small town, but this was vetoed by Fancher’s surviving family. To this day, the huge gravestone stands, maintained by a trust, and the small town of Merced remains in its shadow.