Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Before I start,
 I would like to thank Stephanie at
 for picking my sitting room reveal
 as one of her features last week
 for her Roses of Inspirations linky party.
  She is such a kind and loving woman 
and it is my honor
 to consider her a friend
 and to be included in her wonderful party.


The Nevada County Fairgrounds
 is a beautiful, scenic place. 
 It is even seen by some
 as the most beautiful fairgrounds
 in Northern California.

It certainly has its share of 
serene and calming places,
nestled as it is 
under tall pines...

...and along side a large pond
 where an abundance
 of wild life reside.

Now the gates are closed
 and there is an unusual stillness over all,
 but it isn't hard for the imagination
 to recall the sights and sounds
 of laughter and good times,
 eating corn dogs and roasted chestnuts
 by an open fire,
 the paths lined with California Gold,
 the marigolds,
 and the carnival rides filled
 with the young 
and the young at heart.

At the entrance to the fairgrounds,
 standing tall over all,
 through the clamor and the quiet,
 is one of the most recognizable icons
 of Nevada County, 
the draft horse monument,
 known as the
 Gentle Giant.

Photo courtesy of The Union
From left:  Contractors Jerry F. Orlandi and Robert A. Hildebrand, along with Todd Andrews, sculptor, stand in front of the "Gentle Giant" monument at the Nevada Country Fairgrounds.  The three men know the location of a secret time capsule in the statue's base, which was dedicated on July 21, 1996.

We found out this morning 
from an article in our local newspaper,
 The Union,
 that the Gentle Giant
 has a long kept secret.

Robert Hildebrand, pictured above,
 donated his labor to build the base
 of the monument in 1991. 
 At that time, 
he installed a secret time capsule,
 inside the base, 
to hold a few personal items
 for his children to discover years later
 and news articles 
that detailed the events 
swirling around the project's construction.

At the time of construction
 there was a lot of negativity
 concerning the project.

  People thought it was too much money 
and that the money could be more wisely spent,
 along with it taking too long
 to complete.

 The structure was finally put in place
 five years after the base concrete
 was poured 
and when the $250,000 needed
 to pay for the impressive steed
 was raised.

The main fund raising tools used
 to complete the venture
 was to charge companies and individuals
 to put their names
 on one of the twenty or more plaques
 on the base.

 The price was $50 per line
 and each plaque had 200 lines.
  Some companies paid for a whole plaque
 at the cost of

Photo courtesy of The Union
In this file photo, the "Gentle Giant" monument is lifted onto its base.

When the base was completed 
there was a 2X8 foot time capsule installed.
  It was a huge hole and 
Hildebrand asked that a steel tank be made
 to fit the space 
so the contents could be protected from deterioration.

  He also asked for
 a small amount of space
 to add his own time capsule.

 Both requests were never addressed
 so the huge hole was covered with rocks
 and no one involved in the project
 remembers ever putting anything
 into the time capsule. 
 One person had a video tape to add
 but it was lost
 during the construction.

 Hildebrand went ahead 
and added his own time capsule anyway
 and since he is now leaving the area
 and moving to Arizona,
 he says he will disclose the location 
of his capsule 
if a decision can be made
 to put something in the main time capsule.

  He says,
 after 25 years,
 it is time.

Todd Andrews 
designed and cast
 the massive bronze structure
 that sits on top of the base.

 He tells a tale
 about what is under
 the tail 
of the horse.

Andrews placed a few gargoyle-type faces
 around on the horse. 
 One, in particular,
 was placed under the tail,
 sitting on the horse's rear end.

  He said it was just
 a whimsical gesture,
 a face blowing a kiss,
 but it

When the statue was first put in place,
 a group of Boy Scouts
 was brought in to polish it.

  Andrews, foolishly, told them
 about the face on the horse's rear
 and the scouts
 started teasing each other,
 saying that their faces
 "looked like a horse's butt."

One of the boys teased
 was of Maidu Indian descent.

 When he told his parents, 
they became enraged
 and the sheriff's office told the fair board
 that they had the image
 of a Native American
 on the horse's butt
 and to expect a protest
 from that community. 

 A protest did ensue at the unveiling 
but, by that time, the situation was resolved.
  An official of the Bureau of Indian Affairs 
came to inspect the piece 
and said it obviously wasn't a depiction
 of a Native American,
 but Andrews covered the face 
over with wax
 at that time.

The wax has since been scraped off
 by someone
 and it now 
rears its
 ugly head again.

  I personally looked all over the horse 
as best I could,
 as it is very high up off the ground,
 and this is my opinion only,
 that this is the face in question.

 If you stand back from the photo
 and look closely 
you might see the face 
in the above photo 
in the left, bottom corner.

 It appears in the higher photo
 in the lower right hand corner.

 I was unable to spot any other gargoyles.

It may have had its controversies
 but, in reality,
 this monument
 is a beautiful sight to behold
 and a symbol that stands
 for the strength and honor 
of the people and the animals
 that forged ahead
 and helped build
 this beautiful country.


The Gentle Giant surrounded by springtime

Sharing today at:


  1. What amazing history (and controversy) surrounding that beautiful piece of art. It is just amazing, isn't it? Wow!!! I am really impressed with the piece. I think you can see a face in just about anything if you look hard enough. lol xo Diana

  2. Superbly interesting story. And a magnificent sculpture.

  3. Whether there is or isn't a face, the piece is beautiful! People that have those abilities are amazing! I love that you share such fun and informational stories! I hope you are enjoying some beautiful weather and your new room! Blessings, Cindy

  4. This is a very impressive piece and what an interesting story about it!

  5. Wow Judy what an amazing monument and back story! I never knew this statue existed. What a beautful part of our country you live in my Friend...thank you so much for sharing!
    XO Barbara

  6. This monument is so amazing Judy that it certainly overwhelms the controversy over it. I loved reading about it's history and how the money was raised to fund such an undertaking. It's beautiful!
    sending hugs...

  7. What an interesting story, I'm glad it still stands as a testament to the hard work and perseverance of those creative men.

  8. Awww... bless you, sweet friend, for the kind words. It was such a joy and pleasure to feature your beautiful sitting room :)

    This post was very interesting and I appreciate you taking the time to share the story with us. Also, thanks for joining Roses of Inspiration. Happy weekend, dear one. Hugs!

  9. This is a great post Judy - such an interesting story behind this awesome monument. Jane

  10. It is a beautiful monument... quite impressive also.
    I'm not seeing the gargoyle..... and, I'm not really sure why someone would want
    to make such a mountain out of a mole~hill.
    To be honest, it seems like there are always those that see the negative in anything.... we just have to ignore those types :)

    Have a great new week!

  11. What an interesting story about this monument. It certainly is a beautiful one. I can't see the face. Why do people make a 'mountain out of a mole hill' over silly things. Thanks for sharing this story. The park looks beautiful and would be interesting to see when the fair is held. Have a great week.


Your comments are so special to me...Judy