In 1941, former tracker John Ehn opened a motel in Burbank and called it “The Old Trapper’s Lodge”. Ehn filled it with western memorabilia, weapons and pelts that represented his earlier vocation, hoping to attract tourists with a slick gimmick. When his gimmick failed to bring in the desired amount of business, John Ehn decided to go big.
Local legend has it that he decided giant statues were the way to go, and hired sculptor Claude Bell of Cabazon Dinosaur and Knott’s Berry Farm fame to make him a few. After observing Bell’s technique for a few days, he decided it wasn’t rocket science and he could easily finish the job himself. For the next 30 years, Ehn filled the property with crudely-made cowboys, Native Americans, miners, saloon girls and an entire cemetery scene depicting his version of a “Boot Hill”.
In 1985 the land was sold, and the statues were eventually relocated to Pierce College, where anonymous “mystery” volunteers touch up paint and keep the rustic location accessible by clearing brush and keeping the trail clear for visitors.
Update as of May 2021: The statues are currently surrounded by a fence and can not be visited.
Update as of April 2022: Some items were removed, with a handful of pieces being relocated to Valley Relics Museum.
Know Before You Go
How to Visit: Exit the 101 at De Soto Ave, go north to El Rancho Drive and turn right. The Old Trapper’s Lodge statues will be on your left, just past the horses, between the red barn and parking lot 8.
Note that Pierce College, on whose land the statues reside, are trying to evict the statues and historical landmark from their campus. As a result these statues are fenced in and are not able to be visited, although one can peek through rips in the fencing material to get a small glimpse.