A Totem pole in Abingdon?

I grew up in Knox county Illinois and I’m naturally familiar with the little towns there. Sadly the things I find familiar and don’t give much attention have a fascinating history. It took my friend Scott Rakes question to hammer that aspect in my mindset.

Scott asked me about the totem pole in Abingdon. I had to embarrass myself with the simple answer “I don’t know” I had always taken it being there for granted. I’m a history buff and enjoy discovering other notable events and prominent people, but the totem pole slipped through my research…..until now.

Photography by Scott Rakes

The totem pole is 83 feet tall and actually has a name, Big Daddy. Steve Greenquist carved the pole in 1969. He was a art student at Illinois State University at the time. The project was sponsored by the Abingdon Development Council.

The pole is a tribute to our native Americans, Abraham Lincoln, and our Illinois heritage. Each part symbolizes these significance.

The totem pole held the record for being the world tallest for a short time. It still holds the honor of being the tallest east of the Mississippi.

Big Daddy recieved repair and repainting in 2018. The work began on July 25 and was standing again by August 30th. Dakota Ray worked diligently on repainting. The wings were remade by Bill Delancy and Roger Roberts, two city Aldermen. Mayor Myron Hovid, a member of our Antique Iron Mafia also had a hand in the work.

To think, the other choice for the funds could have been used for a public swimming pool. This is an example of historical remembrance over luxury.

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