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LAistory: Dan the Miner

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Photo used with permission of M. London.

In 1849, a flood of people came to California to cash in on the gold rush. They spent years bent over rivers, sifting for gold. Sometimes they made a fortune. Others, they came away empty handed. In this town, perseverance can really pay. Or sometimes it just gets you even more screwed. The “Dan the Miner” Statue has stood in Carthay Square since 1925 and has certainly seen both sides of this virtue. “The Pioneer” by Henry Lion stands about seven feet tall and weighs 512 pounds. He was designed as part of a fountain that stood in Carthay Center, and like many other works of art in the area, he celebrates the explorers who settled the west. He holds a pan (some think it looks like a deep dish pizza) from which water once flowed to a pool at his feet.

Though presumably Dan is still looking for gold, he no longer has a pond to search. Now he stands, somewhat inexplicably on a grassy median at San Vicente between McCarthay Vista and Del Valle Drive. He is shaded by a large tree, and easy to miss if you’re driving passed.