Creepy western themed statues that were once part of the “Old Trapper’s Lodge” motel in Burbank, now sit hidden behind a chicken coop at Pierce College. Yep, its not Knott’s.

In 1941, former tracker John Ehn opened a motel in Burbank and called it “The Old Trapper's Lodge”. Ehn filled it with western memorabilia, weapons and pelts that represented his earlier vocation, hoping to attract tourists with a slick gimmick. When his gimmick failed to bring in the desired amount of business, John Ehn decided to go big.

In 1941, former tracker John Ehn opened a motel in Burbank and called it “The Old Trapper’s Lodge”. He filled it with western memorabilia, weapons and pelts hoping to attract tourists with a slick gimmick. When that failed, John Ehn decided to go big.

Local legend has it that he decided giant statues were the way to go, and hired sculptor Claude Bell of Cabazon Dinosaur and Knott's Berry Farm fame to make him a few. After observing Bell's technique for a few days, he decided it wasn't rocket science and he could easily finish the job himself. For the next 30 years, Ehn filled the property with crudely-made cowboys, indians, miners, saloon girls and an entire cemetery scene depicting his version of a “Boot Hill”.

He hired sculptor Claude Bell of Cabazon Dinosaur and Knott’s Berry Farm fame to make him a few statues that he thought would finally attract the tourists he needed to fill his motel. After observing Bell’s technique for a few days, he decided he could easily finish the job himself. For the next 30 years, Ehn filled the property with crudely-made cowboys, Indians, miners, saloon girls and an entire cemetery scene depicting his version of a “Boot Hill”.

This sculpture shows Peg Leg Smith squaring off with Big Bear, a Native American. Looks like BB is winning this figh

This sculpture shows Peg Leg Smith squaring off with Big Bear, a Native American. Looks like BB is winning this fight.

Bringing some fun to these lonely hicks.

Bringing some fun to these lonely folks.

It's fairly obvious that John Ehn didn't possess the same sculpting skills as Claude Bell. His proportions here in "The Fight" are pretty hysterical. Unless his models were oversized dwarfs, I think it's safe to assume that this scene was probably one of his first to sculpt on his own.

It’s fairly obvious that John Ehn didn’t possess the same sculpting skills as Claude Bell. His proportions here in “The Fight” are pretty hysterical. Unless his models were oversized dwarfs, I think it’s safe to assume that this scene was probably one of his first to sculpt on his own.

They don't look like enemies to me. I think Big Bear might of been a vampire.

Nice teeth. I think Big Bear might of been a vampire.

The faces along the bottom of some of his bigger statues are extremely creepy.

The faces along the bottom of some of his bigger statues are extremely creepy.

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Oh look its Donald Sterling.

Oh look its Donald Sterling.

So that's why they call them Redskins.

So that’s why they call them Redskins.

"Old Trapper" was the pseudonym John chose to sign his artwork with.

“Old Trapper” was the pseudonym John chose to sign his artwork with.

He called this next one "KIDNAP".

He called this next one “KIDNAP”.

Kidnapping is so sexy when the victim isn't a kid...NOT!

Kidnapping is so sexy when the victim isn’t a kid…NOT!

Trapper Mapper

Trapper Mapper

Signed, sealed, delivered. A pioneer and a hunter.

Signed, sealed, delivered. A pioneer and a hunter.

Trapper Totem

Trapper Totem

Guess they ran out of dirt for this guy.

Guess they ran out of dirt for this guy.

Carrie-esque

Carrie-esque

Pioneer Women are serious women.

Pioneer Women are serious women.

Child Protection Services

Child Protection Services

Hmmm, these ladies sure look a little familiar...

Hmmm, these ladies sure look a little familiar…

...Claude Bell's creations always looked more realistic at Knott's when I was a kid [damn that kid's cute]...

…Claude Bell’s creations always looked more realistic at Knott’s when I was a kid [damn that kid’s cute].

What up ladies? I'm all grown up now.

What up ladies? I’m all grown up now.

They sure look like they're in the mood to party, especially that one-armed hussy on the left.

They sure look like they’re in the mood to party, especially that one-armed hussy on the left.

The entire site became California Historical Landmark Number 939 in 1985. Around that time, the land the motel was on had been sold to the nearby Burbank airport. The motel was sadly torn down, but luckily most of the statues and other folk art were saved and transferred to Pierce College in Woodland Hills.

The Old Trapper’s Lodge became California Historical Landmark Number 939 in 1985. Around that same time, the land the motel was on had been sold to the nearby Burbank airport. The motel was sadly torn down, but luckily most of the statues and other folk art were saved and transferred to Pierce College in Woodland Hills. Apparently, an unknown fan of the statues made a phone call to nearby Pierce College. Somehow, he or she persuaded a decision-maker at the school to “adopt” the statues. Before anyone else knew what had happened, the Trapper’s Lodge statues had a new home in Cleveland Park — an out-of-the-way patch of land behind the Animal Sciences Building. What was said to seal the deal, and what was the fallout for the decision-maker, no one will say. An even greater mystery surrounds the continued upkeep of the Old Trapper’s creations. According to a Pierce official, “Every few years we get a letter saying that someone’s coming down to repaint the statues.” The folks at Pierce never bother to ask who; all they care about is that someone else pays the bill. “Last time the statues got painted, the trail around the Park needed work as well.” The college couldn’t afford it — so the mysterious caretakers did it themselves. “Did a good job, too.”

You can find them near the western edge of Pierce College campus, just east of the stables and behind these chicken coops, in a stand of trees west of the parking lot on the north side of El Rancho Drive.

You can find them near the western edge of Pierce College campus, just east of the stables and behind these chicken coops, in a stand of trees west of the parking lot on the north side of El Rancho Drive.