Thunder Mountain Monument

Last updated
Thunder Mountain Monument ThunderMountainMonument.jpg
Thunder Mountain Monument

The Thunder Mountain Monument is a series of outsider art sculptures and architectural forms that were assembled by Frank Van Zant starting in 1969 upon his arrival in Imlay, Nevada; it is located on a shoulder of I-80.

A World War II veteran from Oklahoma, Frank Van Zant had served with the 7th Armored Division, fought in several campaigns in Europe, [1] and been badly burned in a tank battle outside Leipzig. [2] Born on an Indian Reservation in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, on November 11, 1921, he was the son of Sydney Grove Van Zant and grandson of Alexander Grove Van Zant and due to his upbringing he identified himself as Creek Indian, [3] although his father became disenchanted with the sovereignty of the Creek Nation and became an individual he took the Native American name Rolling Mountain Thunder after experiencing an epiphany. He took on the twin but related tasks of both building shelters from the presumed coming apocalypse, and making a de facto spiritual haven for spiritual seekers of the hippie era. (There is no Thunder Mountain in the vicinity.)

The site covers five acres on the south side of a 1,000-foot stretch of Interstate 80. There were originally seven buildings, including a three-story hostel where many hippies stayed in the 1970s. [4] Three stone and concrete buildings remain, and more than 200 concrete sculptures depicting Native Americans and their protective spirits, massacres, and injustices against them. Thunder Mountain Monument (or Park) is replete with found objects, such as car hoods, dolls' heads, typewriters, and gas pumps, many of which are incorporated into the buildings themselves; the third floor has one wall made up of antique bottles which form a stained glass window of a different sort; other floors have windows from antique windshields and bottles incorporated therein to provide a lighting source; one framework forms a large handle so the Great Spirit could take the building away after Thunder's death. [5]

The site was partially destroyed by arson in 1983, [5] the same year Van Zant was named Nevada's Artist of the Year; he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head in 1989. The monument was neglected and subject to vandalism until it was declared a Nevada State Historic Site in 1992; it is now under the care of his grown children under the aegis of a State of Nevada Historic Site Restoration Project, and is partially open to the public for self-guided tours. [6] Van Zant has been the subject of two short documentaries. [7]

Related Research Articles

Lynyrd Skynyrd American rock band

Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida. The group originally formed as My Backyard in 1964 and comprised Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington (guitar), Allen Collins (guitar), Larry Junstrom and Bob Burns (drums). The band spent five years touring small venues under various names and with several lineup changes before deciding on "Lynyrd Skynyrd" in 1969. The band released their first album in 1973, having settled on a lineup that included bassist Leon Wilkeson, keyboardist Billy Powell and guitarist Ed King. Burns left and was replaced by Artimus Pyle in 1974. King left in 1975 and was replaced by Steve Gaines in 1976. At the height of their fame in the 1970s, the band popularized the Southern rock genre with songs such as "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird". After releasing five studio albums and one live album, the band's career was abruptly halted by tragedy on October 20, 1977, when their chartered airplane crashed, killing Van Zant, Gaines, and backup singer Cassie Gaines, and seriously injuring the rest of the band.

Modern architecture Broad type of architecture

Modern architecture, or modernist architecture, was an architectural style based upon new and innovative technologies of construction, particularly the use of glass, steel, and reinforced concrete; the idea that form should follow function (functionalism); an embrace of minimalism; and a rejection of ornament. It emerged in the first half of the 20th century and became dominant after World War II until the 1980s, when it was gradually replaced as the principal style for institutional and corporate buildings by postmodern architecture.

Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building Oklahoma, U.S., building bombed in 1995

The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was a United States federal government complex located at 200 N.W. 5th Street in Downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. On April 19, 1995, at 9:02 am the building was the target of the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people, including 19 children in a daycare. Half of the building collapsed seconds after the truck bomb detonated. The remains were demolished a month after the attack, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial was built on the site.

Golden Gate Park Urban park in San Francisco, California, United States

Golden Gate Park, located in San Francisco, California, United States, is a large urban park consisting of 1,017 acres (412 ha) of public grounds. It is administered by the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department, which began in 1871 to oversee the development of Golden Gate Park. Configured as a rectangle, it is similar in shape to but 20 percent larger than Central Park in New York City, to which it is often compared. It is over three miles (4.8 km) long east to west, and about half a mile (0.8 km) north to south. With 24 million visitors annually, Golden Gate is the third most-visited city park in the United States after Central Park and the Lincoln Memorial.

Price Tower

The Price Tower is a nineteen-story, 221-foot-high tower at 510 South Dewey Avenue in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. It was built in 1956 to a design by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is the only realized skyscraper by Wright, and is one of only two vertically oriented Wright structures extant.

Sweet Home Alabama 1974 song by Lynyrd Skynyrd

"Sweet Home Alabama" is a song by Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd that first appeared in 1974 on their second album, Second Helping.

Rhyolite, Nevada Ghost town in Nevada, United States

Rhyolite is a ghost town in Nye County, in the U.S. state of Nevada. It is in the Bullfrog Hills, about 120 miles (190 km) northwest of Las Vegas, near the eastern boundary of Death Valley National Park. The town began in early 1905 as one of several mining camps that sprang up after a prospecting discovery in the surrounding hills. During an ensuing gold rush, thousands of gold-seekers, developers, miners and service providers flocked to the Bullfrog Mining District. Many settled in Rhyolite, which lay in a sheltered desert basin near the region's biggest producer, the Montgomery Shoshone Mine.

Gary Rossington American musician, founding member of rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd

Gary Robert Rossington is an American musician, best known as a founding member of Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, in which he plays lead and rhythm guitar.

Sequoia National Forest

Sequoia National Forest is located in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains of California. The U.S. National Forest is named for the majestic Giant Sequoia trees which populate 38 distinct groves within the boundaries of the forest.

Goetheanum

The Goetheanum, located in Dornach, in the canton of Solothurn, Switzerland, is the world center for the anthroposophical movement.

Jean, Nevada Unincorporated community in Nevada, United States

Jean is a small commercial town in Clark County, Nevada, United States, located approximately 12 mi (19 km) north of the Nevada–California state line along Interstate 15. Las Vegas is located about 30 mi (48 km) to the north. There are no residents of Jean, but many people in nearby communities such as Primm and Sandy Valley have Jean listed in their mailing address because it is the location of the main post office for the 89019 ZIP code. South Las Vegas Boulevard ends about 2 mi (3.2 km) south of Jean, and it contiguously runs northbound past Las Vegas, ending near the I-15–US 93 Junction.

Charles Sargeant Jagger

Charles Sargeant Jagger was a British sculptor who, following active service in the First World War, sculpted many works on the theme of war. He is best known for his war memorials, especially the Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner and the Great Western Railway War Memorial in Paddington Railway Station. He also designed several other monuments around Britain and other parts of the world.

Peter Laszlo Peri Hungarian sculptor

Peter Laszlo Peri was an artist and sculptor.

Laurent Delvaux

Laurent Delvaux was a Flemish sculptor. After a successful international career that brought him to London and Rome, he returned to the Austrian Netherlands where he was a sculptor to the court. Delvaux was a transitional figure between the Baroque and Neo-classicism.

Tyre Necropolis

The Al-Bass Tyre necropolis is a Lebanese UNESCO World Heritage site in the city of Tyre situated next to the el-Buss refugee camp. The necropolis, constituting the principal entrance of the town in antique times, is to be found on either side of a wide Roman and Byzantine avenue dominated by a triumphal arch of the 2nd century. Other important monumental vestiges of this archaeological area are an aqueduct, which carried water to the city, and a 2nd-century hippodrome.

Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash 1977 aviation accident

On October 20, 1977, a Convair CV-240 passenger aircraft ran out of fuel and crashed in a wooded area near Gillsburg, Mississippi, United States. Chartered by the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd from L&J Company of Addison, Texas, it was near the end of its flight from Greenville, South Carolina, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

John F. Kennedy Federal Building

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Federal Building is a United States federal government office building located in the Government Center area of Boston, Massachusetts, adjacent to City Hall Plaza and diagonally across from Boston City Hall. An example of 1960s modern architecture, and designed by Walter Gropius and The Architects Collaborative with Samuel Glaser, it is a complex that consists of two offset 26-floor towers that sit on-axis to each other and a low rise building of four floors that connects to the two towers through an enclosed glass corridor. The two towers stand at a height of 387 feet (118 m). The complex was built in 1963-1966.

Devon Hall

Devon Howard Hall is an American professional basketball player for Brose Bamberg of the Basketball Bundesliga. He played college basketball for the Virginia Cavaliers.

Benjamin Victor (sculptor)

Benjamin Matthew Victor is an American sculptor living and working in Boise, Idaho. He is the only living artist to have three works in the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol. He was only 26 years old when his first statue, Sarah Winnemucca, a Paiute activist in Nevada, was dedicated in the Hall in 2005, making him the youngest artist to ever be represented in the Hall. In 2014, his sculpture of Norman Borlaug, "the father of the Green Revolution," was dedicated in the National Statuary Hall and in 2019, his statue of Chief Standing Bear, a Native American rights leader, was dedicated in the National Statuary Hall making him the only living artist to have three sculptures in the Hall.

References

  1. Menzies, Richard. "Background". Thunder Mountain. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  2. "Imlay and Mill City, Nevada: History and Description". Nevadaweb.com. Retrieved 2011-12-26.
  3. "Thunder Mountain Park, Imlay, Nevada". Roadsideamerica.com. Retrieved 2011-12-26.
  4. "Frank Van Zant (Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder), Thunder Mountain Monument". Spaces. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  5. 1 2 Ohlson, Kristin (April 8, 2010). "The Story of Thunder Mountain Monument". Smithsonian .
  6. "Thunder Mountain Monument". Agilitynut.com. Retrieved 2011-12-26.
  7. "Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder". Spyrock.com. Retrieved 2011-12-26.

Coordinates: 40°39′36″N118°08′01″W / 40.66004°N 118.1335032°W / 40.66004; -118.1335032