Who would have ever expected to find a hippie memorial in downtown Arcola? This Midwestern town is where Raggedy Ann and Andy came to life and is located near Amish farms and is home of the Broom Corn Festival.
Touring the town with Annie Jansen and a group of friends that had met up at the 2016 Graham Bradley show, we left the tractors behind to see what Arcola had to offer. Bob Moomaw’s American’s Hippie Memorial was our surprise.
I don’t know that I can say that the memorial is a pretty piece of art, it is just different. This one of a kind memorial was built by Bob Moomaw and each foot represents a year of his life. The first few feel include the Great Depression and World War II along with 1950’s. The next section represents the Kennedy years and the hippie’s influence on American society.
For Moomaw this apparently served as the golden years because he considered the Reagan era a time of narrow mindedness ending his sculpture with rusted metal. He didn’t pen words to his memorial, but he got his point across.
Along with the memorial is a printed speech by Bob Moomaw’s wife Sharon that describes her husband and his art. “Was Bob Moomaw a hippie? NO. He did have a beard and a ponytail while attending the university. He was THERE at the same TIME and PLACE as the hippies but he was raising his children, then ..to his shame, he was no hippie.”
While the original dedication was in 1999, the memorial was placed on Memorial Day 2002 near the Arcola visitor’s center where they offer information about broom corn making and Raggedy Ann and Andy and other expected finds. I just enjoyed the surprise of this memorial that is so unexpected in the Heartland. It is a piece that catches attention and encourages thought.