The Caveman of Grants Pass

We’re in beautiful, rustic Grants Pass Oregon. It appears to be a nice, normal small town, at first glance. There’s a McDonalds, a Walmart, Taco Bell, you know, the typical modern brands you see in the big city, along side of usual local businesses. But something’s odd here. We keep seeing references to a caveman!

What’s with the Caveman? Inquiring minds need to know!

There’s a Caveman Bowl, Caveman RV, Caveman Fence, a towing company. And the Grant’s Pass high school football mascot … you guessed it – a caveman. He’s everywhere! But who the heck is he?

After some research over cocktails, we discover the amazing tale of the Caveman of Grants Pass. Or should we say “cavemen”?

According to a Wall Street Journal article of 2013 by Jim Carlton (yep the caveman even made the WSJ), this is the gist of the Caveman saga:

“The Caveman has stood guard for years over this town, bolstering its claim to be the gateway to the Oregon Caves National Monument.

A scowling, club-wielding fiberglass statue 17 feet tall, he stands on one of the town’s main drags. But he is getting old, and a threat to his standing in the community has caused a rift among his principal allies, who are older still.

The Caveman exists in honor of a men’s group formed in 1922, the Oregon Cavemen, who for decades met in private for secret rituals and, in public, appeared in town events dressed in furs and carrying clubs.

Today’s club members, who claim to be “direct descendants of the Neanderthal,” according to their bylaws, are mostly over 70 years old. Their statue is younger, having been around just since 1971, but too old for some townsfolk.”

cavemen
Grants Pass Caveman Society Photograph, 1936

Apparently the statue of the caveman stands near the Grants Pass Visitors Center – hopefully still. The statue has been pranked for years running; dragged off his pedestal with chains and trucks by graduating seniors from the local high school, stolen, stashed and even burned.

But with a fresh paint job that completely drained the funds of the surviving Oregon Cavemen club members, he seems to have been restored to his former hulking, neanderthalish self,  much to the chagrin and groans of many higher society minded local residents. We had to see this thing!

We asked around and got the scoop on him along with directions from a couple locals we met on the Hellgate Jet Boat Excursion

Caveman Grants Pass

Once you knew where to look, he wasn’t really that hard to find. There he was, in all his fresh painted glory, atop a high monument style pedestal with his life’s story on a side plaque that described how he came to be the mascot of the Cavemen of Grants Pass.

And now you too know the story of the Caveman!

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