Do you need to get out of the house? Here’s a social distancing activity you can do from the safety of your own car—cruise past this roadside Native American totem pole hidden along the banks of the Pequea.
Imagine my surprise last spring when I discovered this totem pole along Pequea Creek Road near the former Loop Road Bridge. While totem poles are synonymous with Native Americans, there are not organically found in Lancaster County or anywhere in the Northeast, for that matter.
A totem pole is a vertically mounted log that has been carved and painted by Native Americans on the Northwest Coast of the United States and Canada. There are seven kinds of totem poles.
- Memorial: Poles mark when a house changes hands to commemorate the past owner and to identify the present one
- Grave marker
- House pole: Used to support the roof
- Portal poles: Have a hole through which a person enters the house
- Welcoming pole: Placed at the edge of a body of water to identify the owner of the waterfront
- Mortuary poles: Hold the remains of a deceased loved one
- Ridicule poles: Identify an important individual who failed in some way by carving his likeness upside down
The word totem refers to a guardian or ancestral being, usually supernatural, that is revered and respected but not always worshipped. The significance of the animal (real or mythological) carved on a totem pole has to do with the head of the household identification. The animal is displayed as a type of family crest, much as an Englishman might have a lion on his crest or a rancher a bull on his brand.
You can find the totem pole at approximately 951 Pequea Creek Road, Pequea, PA, or click here for its exact GPS location: 39.923111, -76.326917.
Before You Go
Please keep in mind that the totem pole is on private property and should be enjoyed from inside your car or the road.
In recent years, there has been a large eagle’s nest on the other side of the road on the opposite side of the Pequea Creek atop a tree. See if you can find it.
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1875 map of Conestoga Township, Lancaster County, PA$27.99 – $29.99