Wednesday, October 6, 2010


In 1976, Syringa Club members sponsored a monument to artist Charles Ostner in a cozy spot next to Alder Creek, where the great ponderosa pine had stood. More on the pine later. The monument, pictured here, was sketched by Pilar Tucker. According to her husband, John Tucker, Pilar took the sketch to Homedale Ceramic in Emmett. "When it was ready," he says, "Dave Reay, George Murray and I took the cement monument to its location on the creek. I furnished the liquor--whatever it was cement workers drink!"

Ostner's story is one to be read by Idaho history buffs. Briefly, he was an Austrian who studied art in Germany. After taking part in and and helping to lose the German revolution, he travelled and wound up in Garden Valley. He must have felt at home in this alpine splendor. In 1865, Boise County Commissioners received Ostner's notice that he planned to construct a 12-mile wagon road from Placerville to Thomas' Ranch on the South Fork of the Payette. The County granted him a license to keep a toll road for four years.

During that time, he had a large yellow pine felled and he worked nightly on an equestrian carving of George Washington at the Battle of Monmouth. There are different versions of this story, one with his son holding a torch over the tree every night, while Ostner labored with an ordinary carpenter's saw and chisel.

Before the four years were up, Ostner put a notice in the World, Christmastime 1868, that his statue was being shown in Centerville on Christmas Day and would be exhibited in December 27 in Idaho City, before being moved to
Boise City. This was prime-time in Boise, as any prominent person in the state would be attending the legislative session. Ostner earned his place in Idaho history when he presented the patriotic statue to the Idaho Territory Legislature, January 1869.

The monument was set up by Syringa Club in memory of early pioneers, but like those old pioneers, it gets forgotten sometimes. Now it sits beside the road and creek, a block or so past South Fork Road and if you are not looking for it, it is not there. Syringa members vowed at the last meeting to weed the area around the monument and make it presentable to the public. Any
volunteers to keep up the grooming will be appreciated.

Calling all photographers: Submit your best work and have it displayed all year long on the Syringa Calendar 2011. The Syringa Club calendar committee is asking for your best pictures that are taken locally and show the history or beauty of our valley, preferably in color, but black and white will certainly be considered. Please submit your pictures digitally in the JPG file format – unaltered – to

Syringa's beloved friend, Jean Studer, loyal recycling proponent and creator of those two recycling activists Drip & Drop, passed away a month after her hubby John. She will be missed, always appreciated and wished well wherever she and John have gone.

The club is still and forever collecting washable blankets for Crouch Volunteer Ambulance Service. They may be dropped off at the Senior Center.

Hypnotist Sharon Svenson will be guest speaker at the next Syringa meeting, Thursday, October 21. She will begin promptly at noon, to give time for demonstrations. Lunch will be available for $5.

Syringa Club meets at the Garden Valley Senior Center, 261 S. Middle Fork Road, Crouch. It is a service-oriented women's club and is open to all. For information, call Ione Messick at 462-3284 or Angel at 462-2511.

Top two photos of monument by Elaine
Baker. Bottom photo is view from side of road!

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