- On Thursday, we visited Newberry National Volcanic Monument and hiked through Lava River Cave, explored the Shaniko Ghost Town, and toured the Maryhill Museum of Art.
- On Friday, we walked the Historic District of Ellensburg, visited the Kittitas County Historical Museum, stopped by Dick And Jane’s Spot, explored the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth, and hiked at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park.
- On Saturday, we had a picnic at the Portland Women’s Forum Scenic Viewpoint overlooking Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge and checked out Living Rock Studios.
On Sunday, it was time to begin our trek to Mountain View, California for our next Dead & Company concert on Monday night. Because we had two days to make the drive, we had a little extra time and stopped for photos with the Grants Pass Caveman, hiking the Castle Crags Vista Point Trail, and visiting the Intel Museum in Silicon Valley.
Having the opportunity to see so many roadside attractions and do so many fun (and sometimes unexpected) things is one of the reasons we love road tripping so much… There is no way we’d have these experiences if we flew from place to place!
The 17 foot tall Grants Pass Caveman Statue, standing on a giant rock pedestal, has guarded the entrance to Grants Pass since 1971.
Now surrounded by fast food restaurants and gas stations, the iconic statue still stands in the middle of a small patch of grass at the Grants Pass and Josephine County Chamber of Commerce as a symbol of pride for local residents.
Along with the famous caveman and a “Welcome To Grants Pass” sign, stand two bear statues, a mama and cub, that look like they’re going camping. The bears were originally part of BearFest, an annual town event. As part of BearFest, 182 fiberglass bears created by 85 artists have been displayed in downtown Grants Pass. Nearly half of the bears created have been auctioned to raise more than $250,000 for local nonprofits. When not on display in the summer, the bears hibernate at the Bear Hotel owned by Evergreen Federal Bank.
About The Caveman Statue
In 1922, a group of local businessmen created the Grants Pass Cavemen, a booster group named for the nearby Oregon Caves National Monument. For decades, the group represented the city of Grants Pass and promoted the caverns at nearby Cave Junction at public gatherings. They dressed in furs and wigs, donned buck teeth, wielded clubs, and captured pretty girls and politicians (who looked like they could take a joke), putting them in cages.
In 1971, the giant caveman statue was installed at the corner of Morgan Lane and Sixth Street to honor the the Grants Pass Cavemen.
In 2004, the historic caveman was damaged by teenage arson. It was removed from its pedestal temporarily, but was repaired and reinstalled in 2005. Later in 2014, the statue received an overhaul at a local auto body shop and a tree that was obstructing the view of the caveman statues from those passing by was cut down.
About The Oregon Cavemen
According to a sign on the statue’s pedestal…
The Oregon Cavemen claim to be direct descendants of the neanderthal man of ancient times whose homeland is The Oregon Caves. Made up of local businessmen who traveled far and wide to spread good will and tourist information, the group appeared at the opening of The Golden Gate Bridge, a Broadway show, and the Bay Area’s Treasure Island Exposition.
Their main purpose as an organization was to publicize Grants Pass and Josephine County. Their “rituals” include orientation of members in the geographical and scenic features of the Caveman Domain and instruction in the caveman tactics of greeting visitors.
The Cavemen make their own rules as they go, always calculated for the most fun and the best gag at the moment. With each new trick and each visit to a new area, they spread the good word for Grants Pass and Josephine County, calling everyone to come and see the Rogue River Valley.
Know Before You Go
- The Grants Pass Caveman Statue is located on the corner of NW Sixth Street and Morgan Street right off I-5 in Grants Pass.
- Park in the Grants Pass and Josephine County Chamber of Commerce parking lot at 1995 NW Vine Street, Grants Pass, Oregon 97526. The Caveman and two big bear statues are on the same property.
- The 17 foot tall statue, standing on a rock pedestal, was installed in 1971.