A few weeks ago, while grabbing dashing across Santa Monica Boulevard for lunch, a few colleagues and I spied this odd bust of Abraham Lincoln. Honest Abe, affixed to a lamp post, with the Westfield Century City mall behind him -- not something you'd expect to see while dashing down the sidewalk.
A quick Google search brought me to the website of Franklin Avenue pal Joni -- and a blog post she wrote in 2008 after our Great Los Angeles Walk down Santa Monica Boulevard. Small world, huh?
Joni quickly figured out the reason behind the bust and other artwork affixed to nearby lamp posts (hint: that "66" under Abe is all you need to know):
as we were walking along the newly rerouted, relandscaped, and resurfaced santa monica blvd, will noticed what appeared to be the bust of abraham lincoln mounted high up on a lamppost. huh? what did lincoln have to do with century city? strangely enough, there didn't seem to be any other presidential figures anywhere nearby. then all of a sudden, we spotted something that oddly looked like the sears tower. by now, our little group was puzzled. lincoln and the sears tower? chicago? what did chicago have to do with century city? it then dawned on me that chicago was the start of route 66. and sure enough, there were 66's on those lampposts as well. god, we're good!
as we continued on our journey to westwood, past the mormon temple, we kept an eye out for other lamppost artwork. SHOW ME for missouri. mistletoe for oklahoma. the alamo for texas. kokopelli for new mexico. i forgot what we saw for arizona. EUREKA for california. and then there were the ones we couldn't quite put our fingers on. thistle? a bust of an unknown female? this LA art website has pictures of some of those oddities. looks like we missed some...
by the way, unless you're stuck in traffic or walking by like we were, there's no way you'd spot this supposed art installation as you're zooming down the street. in fact, this was the first time any of us had noticed any of this in all the years we'd been traversing santa monica.
John Varley has a more detailed roundup of the Route 66 markers here, while this post notes that the lamp post hangings were supervised by Los Angeles installation artist Barbara McCarren.