Dan the Miner, a "larger-than-life sculpture of a 49er gold prospector," was initially christened "The Pioneer." The seven foot, 512-pound bronze figure was fashioned by sculptor Henry Lion back in 1925. Set in the Carthay Circle courtyard, the 49er was the centerpiece of a water fountain feature--also known as the Daniel O. McCarthy Pioneer Fountain or the Miner's Statue. Hence, we get "Dan the Miner."
In the photo below, artist Lion stands on a pedestal next to his sculpture. Also pictured is the Carthay Circle Theatre developer J. Harvey McCarthy and an unknown woman. Photo is dated March 17, 1926.
Image via Los Angeles Public Library.
Image via vokoban.
The statue and fountain were dedicated in 1926. A plaque read, "This fountain is a memorial to the gallant pioneers of '49 of whom Daniel O. McCarthy, patriot, miner, leader, was an outstanding example..."
A photo from 1927 with the theatre in the background.
Another 1927 photo, this one a moody night shot.
Some 80 years later, the theatre was gone. The pond was gone. Yet, Dan still stood, pictured here in a 2006 close-up.
2006 images courtesy of vokoban.
Then in February of 2008, something happen. The poor guy was stolen (LA Times, February 13, 2008). The heist was apparently run by thieves wanting to make a buck off the metal.
Image via Curbed LA.
Understandably, folks in the neighborhood were rather upset. Dan was a real piece of antiquity. Several months went by with no word. Yet, his disappearance had been in the media, and probably as a result, he was recognized one day when he showed up in a LA scrapyard.
The good news was that the criminals were caught (LA Times, January 6, 2009). The bad news...rather disrespectfully...he'd been cut in half! Still, he did make a new friend while he was away. Meet "Scrappy" the metal dog.
Found in LA Scrapyard. Image via LA Times.
After a very long and difficult year for Dan, the city had the statue restored. Looking spiffy as ever, Dan was unveiled anew in early 2009.
Image via Curbed LA.
All's well that ends well. And so it is for Dan the Miner who is back home on his Carthay Circle perch.
Image copyright Will Campbell via Blogging Los Angeles.