Saturday, November 01, 2008

Giant folk art in Cypress

In the 1930s, folk artist Isador Bastianon created a fantastic and strange landscape out of stone, concrete and brick on the property of his friend, pioneer Cypress dairyman Charles E. Baroldi. The works were adjacent to Baroldi's home, on Cerritos Ave, east of Holder St. The centerpiece was the pond and swan-topped towers seen above. Other features included a huge barbecue pit surmounted by a giant steer head, an enormous stone mosaic depicting a sailing ship, a gazebo-sized milk can, a huge human head, and more.
By 1970, developers were building tract housing on the Baroldi ranch, . The 1.5-acre lot on which the Baroldi home sat was to become a community park, and Leo Baroldi (Charles' son) offered the house to the City of Cypress as a new home for the local Cultural Arts Association. By accepting this deal, the City had to agree to preserve the folk art. Ultimately, the City declined the offer, saying the art was unsafe and difficult to maintain. As far as I can tell, all of it was ultimately destroyed.
I've posted several more images of these works below. They were taken in 1970, and you can see homes being built in the background. The last image shows a large concrete lizard in front of what appear to be giant termite mounds. (Thanks to Ron and Elfriede Mac Iver for the photos and for bringing this to my attention.)

1 comment:

Wildsuns said...

I have heard (but forget who from) that some of these or at least one found it's way up to La Habra heights or somewhere in that area. I also recall seeing a photo showing one of these loaded onto the a big rigs flat bed trailer as if it were being moved. It has been a few years but I may still have a copy of that photo but at the moment do not know where it would be.