Nathan Edward Galloway was born February 18th, 1879 in Missouri and developed his carving skills as a child by creating mother-of-pearl buttons and small wooden items. He was introduced to Japanese and Far Eastern art while stationed in the Philippine Islands, as he served in the U.S. Army in the early 1900s during the Spanish-American War.
After he returned to Missouri from his tour of duty, he began to create massive sculptures from tree trunks where he incorporated human figures with fish and reptiles. In 1914 the artist is said to have made a number of large, complicated wood carvings to enter in the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, but virtually all were destroyed by a fire before being sent to California.
Galloway’s unique style soon caught the eye of Sand Springs founder and philanthropist Charles Page in 1914. The discovery led to a long relationship between the two, beginning with Galloway’s employment as a manual arts instructor at the Sand Springs Home. He spent the next 20 years teaching woodworking to boys in the Children Home orphanage in Sand Springs, Oklahoma.
One of his creations during that time was a carousel installed in a local park, and two ornately carved lions which now guard the entrance to the Sand Springs Home. In 1937, he retired to the property where the park sits today in Foyil, Oklahoma.
In all, the park contains four concrete totems, plus two ornate concrete picnic tables with animal-form seats, a barbecue, and four sets of animal-form gateposts. He hoped to use his work to educate young people about American Indians.
Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park was restored through the efforts of the Kansas Grassroots Art Association and the Rogers County Historical Society and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999 (NR 99000354). In 2010 local artist and member of RCHS Virginia Krugloff repainted the totems.
The Totem Pole Park is considered a Route 66 icon and has been visited by people from 45 states and 25 countries. The park has been featured in a number of national magazines.
The Totem Pole Park, Fiddle House and Gift Shop are open to the public free of charge.
Located ten miles North of Claremore, Oklahoma, off Historic Route 66 four miles East of Foyil, Oklahoma on Highway 28A.
The Fiddle House Museum and Gift Shop:
Monday – Saturday 11:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday 1:00pm – 5:00pm
By appointment: 918-342-1169 / 918-342-9149