M is for Mountain Lion

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Now let me tell you about Herman Keene.  He was a lion hunter.  When his son was asked by his 6th grade teacher what his father did for a living he said, “He’s a lion hunter”.  The class laughed.

I got a call from a woman who had old Arizona Highway magazines for sale.  I’ve learned not to turn down an opportunity to enter a home on any pretense.  Arizona Highways are a good portal.  I visited the home on 6th St.  I passed on the Arizona Highways but did express an interest in old photographs.  She had a pile of them that filled the kitchen table.  I purchased them all.

I had obtained an archive of Herman Keene.  During his life he did a lot of things but for a big piece of it he was a bounty hunter.  He ran traps in the Sespe.  Once he caught something, like a mountain lion, he shot it and claimed the bounty.  Sometimes he used a bow and arrow.  Sometimes he posed with a dead stuffed animal with himself acting out the final battle between man and beast.

He had a lot of the animals stuffed.  They ended up all over Santa Paula.  A lot of them hung at the Mill in its hay day.  (Get it?)  I have a real photo postcard of a restaurant with his mounts literally covering the walls above the booths.

This snapshot shows Herman in his car in front of the Glen Tavern in Santa Paula.

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About John

John Nichols is owner of John Nichols Gallery in downtown Santa Paula, Calif. Since 1984. Vintage, vernacular and contemporary photography and art services
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One Response to M is for Mountain Lion

  1. Utterly fabulous! A very cool addition to your alphabet!

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