Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Northgate Mall Totem Pole restored to its original glory

I spent most of today watching the Suquamish Tribe raise a new totem pole on the grounds of the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort.

The pole actually isn't new but spent over 50 years at the Northgate Mall and before that it stood as a proud cedar for over 600 years.

The pole has been totally restored by native artists and will stand tall (see the man in the lower right of the photo) looking out toward the water.

It is visible from the Agate Pass Bridge, much of the north end of Bainbridge Island and from the water as boaters travel between Suquamish and Poulsbo.

The pole stands over the entertainment stage at the hotel and will add to the ambience of the summer concerts which, I have heard, are going to be better than ever this summer and still free.

I'll post a link to the concerts when it becomes available.

The artist who orginally carved the pole, with an ax, was Dudley Carter, (1891 - 1992).

The pole stood at Northgate Mall from 1952 until recently and was almost distroyed but the Suquamish adopted it, moved it to their tribal center where the artists worked on it.

It was moved to it's new location and raised this morning. A public dedication followed this afternoon.

If you have a chance stop by the Suquamish Clearwater Hotel just to see the museum quality art, including the new totem pole.

Here is the Press Release:

Northgate Totem Finds A New Home In Suquamish

Suquamish Tribe hosts dedication ceremony for the historic piece of art
next Wednesday

SUQUAMISH, February 15, 2007- A famous piece of Northwest art will soon
become part of the skyline overlooking Agate Passage at Suquamish Clearwater
Casino Resort.

The 59-foot totem, referred to as the "Northgate Totem" was created by
famed sculptor Dudley C. Carter, whose artwork can also be seen in carvings on
the grounds at Kiana Lodge, another business owned and operated by the Suquamish

Carter originally fashioned the "Northgate Totem" in 1952 to decorate
the north entrance to Northgate Mall in Seattle. It stood there for more than 55
years until renovations to the site required its removal last fall.

Rather than see the totem destroyed, Northgate Mall executives
graciously donated it to the Suquamish Tribe who, in conjunction with their
tribally owned corporation Port Madison Enterprises, paid for its removal,
transport and restoration.

A dedication ceremony for the newly restored totem is scheduled
February 20, 2008 at the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort Event Lawn, where
the totem is being permanently placed.

"I’m excited about having it here. It’s really a tribute to the
Suquamish People that they would adopt this totem as their own, investing
considerable resources into this project," said PME Hotel Director Sam Askew.

After decades of braving the elements outside Northgate Mall, the totem
required extensive renovation before it could be raised. A team of well known
Northwest artists including Michael Pavel, Dave Casey, Gordon Nielson, Shaunte
Bernal and Ed Polin painstakingly re-worked the cedar carving, ensuring a long
new life for it in Suquamish.

"All of the original paint and areas of extensive rot had to be
removed," said Askew.

In addition to restorations, the originally red hued totem is being
re-painted with earth tones and colors found in the natural environment.


Kim said...

Thank you so much for posting about this totem. I had photographed it a couple years ago and again last autumn at Northgate Mall. When it disappeared I inquired of several shop workers at the mall why it had been removed, each was not even aware it was gone. FYI, there are no renovations where the pole stood, it simply isn't in its place anymore and more plants are in its place, so perhaps something is planned for later. It's nice to see your photos of it in its restored state and on native land.
Seattle Daily Photo

Kitsap Images said...

The totem pole is spectacular in it's new home and loved there.

You'll have to come over and visit it. The Suquamish Clearwater Casino Hotel has free concerts on the lawn every Thursday evening all summer. You can sit and enjoy some wonderful music, the scenery and the totem pole!