gospodor monument park
"Gospodor, Gospodor, the most hideous sculptures I've ever seen..."
took this picture while driving 70mph on the I-5, hence it's fuzzy
Dominic Gospodor's one-man show was built in 2002 -- with four towering memorials - and can be seen from the I-5 highway near Olympia WA
His four existing "high-rise" monuments commemorate Jesus, Chief Seattle, Mother Teresa, and the Holocaust with statues or symbols atop 100-foot-plus steel-pipe towers.
Visible for miles, especially at night, the site draws mixed reviews from area residents.
Contractor John Halvorsen says he was hired by a millionaire from out-of-town to turn sketches into monuments.
Steel fabricator Ken Lyons also met the stranger.
“He's a dedicated guy, a real straightforward and honest person,” he said.
His company welded together 3-ton pipes to build the towers – in all, a massive project that cost "someone" half a million dollars.
Gospodor watched it all through four highly perched cameras, linked directly to his condominium in downtown Seattle more than 100 miles away.
Gospodor had planned five more monuments. Two large ones near the road were to honor African-American history and the 17,000 people killed each year by drunken driving. Toward the back, three statues were to commemorate polio-vaccine developer Jonas Salk, women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony and William Seward, who bought Alaska from Russia in 1867 for about 2 cents an acre.
Gospodor, comfortably retired in Seattle after land speculation in Alaska made him a wealthy man, has his critics -- people who suggest he should give his money to a university, provide scholarships to worthy young people, or work directly with those he seeks to honor.
"I figure I'll do what I want to do," he said cheerfully during a recent interview. "The average millionaire never gets any good out of his money," said Gospodor. "When they get a million dollars, they figure that's not enough -- they want two million, or three million."
He said his monument project has so far cost him about $500,000.
Gospodor is hoping to hand it off to someone eventually -- there should be no maintenance costs beyond the $115-a-month electricity bill for lighting, he said. So far, Lewis County officials are not interested.
One of eight children, Gospodor attended a one-room schoolhouse in North Dakota, joined the Army and fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II, and then wandered north to make his fortune.
Never married, he has no children, but says Gospodor Monument Park is not about "leaving his mark." His aim is to get people thinking.
"People, you know, they want to shun all this stuff," he said. "It's not pleasant to think about, but you know that old saying, 'History repeats itself."'
Gospodor is horrified by the Holocaust. Raised Catholic, he is especially concerned about the church's inaction during World War II: "They all remained silent. Everybody remained silent."
He sees no conflict in placement of the Jesus monument -- featuring two metal spheres topped by an 18-foot figure with outstretched arms next to his Holocaust memorial.
"You can't blame Jesus for what man did," he said.
Below is a smaller statue of the late Mother Teresa, who won the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the poor.
The third tower features a roughhewn likeness of Chief Seattle.
"The reason I did the Indian -- our ancestors came over here and stole their ground. And then they tried to shoot them all," Gospodor said. "It's disgusting to me."