Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chiloquin, Oregon's, Hub City Chrome Mystery Tapir


NOTE: I now believe this animal to be Indricotherium, although with a shorter neck. We've had fun with it. Read on. . . .

A number of years ago, a tapir fan (I think it was hyrax; if it was someone else, please remind me!) told me about this phenomenon - a huge tapir sculpture along a highway in "nowhere" Oregon that didn't quite look like a tapir. After I moved to Oregon, I thought I'd be on the lookout for it, and guess what? We drove past it purely by accident on May 6, 2005, on the way to Crater Lake. I just re-found the photos. It has some tapir characteristics, and some clearly not. But I can't think what else it was intended to be. Certainly they'd know what a cow looked like, or a horse, and this is no rhino.

I can't imagine anyone making a tapir without a long snout, and there was no broken snout, because the nostrils are placed high on the muzzle.

Hub City Chrome is located in Chiloquin, Oregon. Check out the Google map to see one of the strangest locations for a tapir-anything. Of course, we stopped and went inside to find out what they could tell us. They were not pleased to see us. "We think it was made in the '60s," they said, "but we'll probably tear it down. All it gets us is people askin' questions and blockin' up our drive-through, 'specially in summer. They don't buy anything, they just wanna talk." Well, fair enough, I guess, I know what it's like to try to run a small business when people take up your time and don't buy, but maybe they should leave the "thing" intact and put up a sign. It's an oddball attraction, for sure. Maybe they should start selling replicas. I hate to think that it could be gone by now, but the weather and time were not doing it any favors.

If it's an Asian tapir, it would have the white on the top, not on the belly.

And it has a cow's tail, but it's definitely not a cow.

The feet look more like they belong to a rhinoceros, but the legs are clearly tapir. This is all I know. The Hub City tapir remains a mystery. But if you're driving south from Bend to Klamath Falls, or north from Klamath, do check it out and let me know if it still exists, OK?

18 comments:

TheFrogBag said...

Wow, how cool and mysterious! I hope they leave it alone or revamp it. I love to think that there are things like this sitting along the roadside still. Thanks for sharing! One idea on what else it might be: a Paraceratherium, the giant extinct hornless rhino? But they were from Asia I think so I don't know why it would be here!

hyrax said...

It sounds familiar enough that I think someone else told ME about it. I hadn't seen it before though, and I don't know who it would have been. I can post in my journal and see if anyone bites?

tapirgal said...

Hi FrogBag,

The head looks about right, but the neck sure doesn't - but the feet do. I guess we haven't solved the mystery, but some really neat pictures come up when you search for that name in Google. I grew up when they called it the Beast of Baluchistan. It got a certain amount of popular press, being so huge. Maybe some wacked-out Oregon hippies did have that in mind back in the '60s! I love to think that it's still there, and maybe it is.

tapirgal said...

hyrax, I'd be interested. I vaguely remember now that you did tell me someone told you about it. I always like to give credit where credit is due if you want to take the trouble to find out.

Laura A said...

This website has a little info on the Hub City statue:

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2193

I found your blog this morning because our family went to the Extreme Mammals exhibit at the AMNH in NYC yesterday. The first thing you see is a gigantic model of an indricotherium, a somewhat tapir-like Oligocene creature. It got me thinking of the "Hub City tapir," as my family calls it, and I did a search. Apparently the Hub City animal is supposed to be Eocene.

The statue was still there last summer when we visited friends in OR, though the nose was decaying a lot more. We took a photo from our car because the statue appearing suddenly in the middle of nowhere always makes us laugh, and we wanted to remember it.

Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

A friend pointed me toward this post after I drove by the mystery creature and took photos to post on Facebook. As of February 12, 2011, it still stands.

Nelli V.

danger garden said...

Yep still standing on July 31st, 2011....

Ichi said...

My friends and I saw this statue just today on our way back from Kalamath Falls. While we stopped to take a few pictures, the guy at Hub City was pretty rude to us, told us we were trespassing on private property. My boyfriend asked him about the tapir and the owner replied that it had been there since the '60s. At a gas station a few minutes down the road, we were informed by the attendant that where Hub City is now used to be a dinosaur park.

Robarge Tanaka said...

We saw it today on the way to Klamath Falls from Bend. It is still there. We stopped to take pictures in the evening, so the store was closed and we did not talk to anyone. It has a sign posted by its feet, "Danger - Keep Off."

Brandi said...

Still there! I just drove past it and went right to the good ol' Internet to figure out what the heck that creature was! :). Anyhow, as of 8/11/12 this oddity is still standing. Yay!

Brandi said...

Still there! I just drove past it and went right to the good ol' Internet to figure out what the heck that creature was! :). Anyhow, as of 8/11/12 this oddity is still standing. Yay!

tapirgal said...

Thanks, Brandi and everyone else who has seen it lately. I'm really glad to hear the news that it's still there :-)

Rosie said...

It's still there. I was trying to figure out what it was and came across this. Thanks.

Rosie said...

It's still there. I was trying to figure out what it was and came across this. Thanks.

Alicia Ackerman said...

As of 6/16/2015 it's still there. Thanks for the article! I too came across it while trying to find out what this cow/rhino/horse thing could be.

Unknown said...

I actually saw a creature that looked a lot like this crashing through the forrest while driving late at night in Oregon between Redmond and The Dalles. It was about 2:00 am so I could have been hallucinating. It has been about ten years ago. Imagine my surprise to be reminded of that strange incident, when I just drove by Hub City two weeks ago and this sculpture is still there. P.S. I do not do drugs or drink alchohol.

tapirgal said...

Thanks! I always love comments on this post. Hmmm. Maybe a bear? Whatever it was, Oregon is an interesting place :-) Thanks for saying you were not on drugs or drinking. Really makes you wonder, huh?

Tiara said...

As of December 2015 it is still standing

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