Friday, July 22, 2011

Thunder Mountain, Nevada

Thunder Mountain... the name sounds like some high Sierra location in the wilderness, but it is much more difficult to descibe.

Thunder Mountain Indian Monument is a State of Nevada historic site.  Bizarre, artistic, eclectic, artsy, and even kind of scary, Thunder Mountain is a collection of faces, towers, junk, statues, old cars, and buildings made from concrete, bottles, windshields, typewriters, and whatever other building materials the artist could find.

The creator of the monument was Frank Van Zant who later in life called himself Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder.  He described his creation as a monument to the American Indian.  During his life he was a World War II veteran, assistant pastor, sheriff's deputy, and private investigator, but inspired by a bottle house he had seen in the desert, he moved his family to rural Imlay, Nevada and created his unusual home.

A bottle wall seen from the inside. 


                                                                                                                                                                  Nightmarish faces, deteriorated by years of exposure, are found everywhere you look, peering out from corners or towers, and a Madonna seems to watch you from behind a wire fence.  Native American symbolism is everywhere, but other symbols are harder to understand, like an amazing human / butterfly.  The site is deteriorating, but the artist's son is trying to preserve and restore it.  There is a caretaker on the site, and he gladly let us inside the fence to take photos.  There is no charge, but donations are accepted and welcome.

No comments:

Post a Comment