M is for Mountain Lion


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.


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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