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Glendora Doesn't Look Its Gift Lions in the Mouth, by George

March 28, 1985|MARY BARBER | Times Staff Writer

The citizens of Glendora have taken possession of four tons of cold concrete shaped in the likenesses of George Washington and two lions.

The first President and sitting lions are not the sort of gifts that a city accepts every day. Glendora officials snapped them up because the price and conditions were right--free and no strings attached.

"I'm no authority, but George looks pretty good to me," said George Manooshian, city director of parks and recreation. Washington is easily identifiable and details are distinct, even the buttons on his waistcoat and ruffles on his shirt, said Manooshian, who judged all the statues to be in perfect condition.

The statues once graced the yard of a home on Essex Court in Glendora, but the owner, unidentified at her request, said she had to vacate her house in a hurry. She gave the city less than a week's notice that the statues were there for the taking. With its hasty, unanimous vote of approval, the City Council made them city property.

City crews moved the statues to temporary quarters at the city yard, where they stand amid tractors and street sweepers. Meanwhile, Manooshian thinks he has found permanent homes.

The Daughters of the American Revolution has its state headquarters in Glendora, and since there was hardly anyone more revolutionary than George Washington, Manooshian saw a likely match there. His offer to move Washington to the front yard of the DAR house at the corner of Bennett and Vermont avenues awaits approval by DAR state officials when they meet in Glendora in May.

With the same kind of reasoning, Manooshian has paired the lions with the Lions.

The Glendora Lions Club runs a free loan service of hospital equipment--beds, orthopedic devices, wheelchairs--in a building on city land adjacent to Finkbiner Park. Coincidentally, the park's drinking fountains are shaped like lions, a gift of the Lions. The Lions Club Board of Directors has approved placing the lion statues in front of the building at 112 N. Minnesota Ave.

City officials say that as long as the sculptures remain city property, they can be moved by city means. The city will relinquish its ownership, and the new owners will relinquish all further use of public transport, the moment the statues are placed on private property. So it has to be done right, presumably to last forever.

"This requires a backhoe and a very, very sensitive operator," Manooshian said.

Washington is about 5 feet tall and comes with a 3-foot pedestal. The lions are sitting on their haunches with fierce-looking expressions--jaws open wide and teeth bared. Each of the four pieces is estimated to weigh a ton.

Meanwhile, the statues remain at the city yard, where Washington occasionally wears a hard hat when nobody else needs it. Nobody messes with the lions.

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