Sunday, July 17, 2011

A miner's first president

Continuing with the theme "Large Rocks With Faces," here is a January 1942 press photo of Fred Nicholls of Lovely, Ky., with his towering George Washington and a smaller tablet with two figures. According to the caption, Mr. Nicholls, 59, spent eight weeks "tapping away" at a boulder to make the first president, based on a picture he had seen in a book "a long time ago." The sculpture is "an odd one," the caption writer says, then explains why. Because the picture was taken shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, I'm guessing a lot of papers did not have the space or inclination to run it. I'm dying to know what came of Mr. Nicholls and his George Washington, so I've made some inquiries. The Kentucky Arts Council, which is not familiar with either the carver or the carving, is investigating. "It turns out there are still members of a Nicholls family living in that same county," replied the council's artistic director, Adrian Swain. "So, I don’t have any answers yet, but I will be back in touch soon ..." A carving that large would be hard to lose.


  1. So is this about a George Washington, carver... or a George Washing Carver? Just wondering, because GW didn't wear a 20th century suit. Interesting.

  2. Good point. I think one of the odd things about the carving is the dress, the "four-in-hand tie."