Fork In The Road

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Main image source: http://www.trippyfood.com

South Pasadena’s Fork In The Road is one of the most interesting spots in the city. Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, it’s the perfect place for a photo op, and symbolizes that, no matter what road you take, the city has a lot to offer. If you’ve never seen it yourself, it’s quite straightforward: it–quite literally-is a fork in the road. It’s constructed of wood (though its silvery paint job gives it the appearance of metal) and sits at the intersection of Pasadena and St. John Avenues.

The Fork has been standing since Halloween 2009, and it has quite the history. Artist Ken Marshall and a friend of his created the Fork as a 75th birthday gift to his friend, Bob Stane. Marshall and Stane co-own the Altadena coffee gallery and showroom, and had talked about the idea a while back. One night, dressed in CalTrans uniforms (CalTrans owned the land plot), the pair snuck over late and night, dug the hole, illegally stuck in the art, and poured in 400 pounds of concrete. According to many sources, they waved at policemen who drove by during the installation.

Residents were thrilled to see the fork, and believed it added a bit of humor to the city. “People just became unglued about it,” Bob Stane told NBC News. “They just thought it was fantastic. They were so happy to have a bit of humor on the street.”

After the Fork was firmly planted, a party was thrown, and the mastermind behind the project considered the artwork not just a gift to Stane, but to the city of South Pasadena. At the party/groundbreaking of the Fork, t-shirts were handed out with the sentence, “The World’s Largest Fork In The Road.” Later research eventually found that this was not, in fact, the largest fork in the road. There is also a 31-foot fork in the road in New York. Despite this fact, it did not thwart the enthusiasm of the residents and artists themselves.

Although most people were happy to have it, the California Department of Transportation was less enthused. On June 10th, 2010, the Fork was taken down by the city, who cited safety issues as a primary concern, and noted that Marshall did not have permission to put in on the property in the first place.

“They think it’s dangerous, that it might fall over, and they’re afraid people will run across the street to be photographed with the fork and be run over,” Stane told the Los Angeles Times.

However, the removal of the fork didn’t last too long. After proper permits were granted, and residents voiced their desire for it to stay, it was re-planted in October 2011. Today, the Fork is anchored to a 2.5 foot concrete plate. Originally just a simple intersection, it’s now called “Fork Plaza.”

Since then, the Fork has had its share of fun at its permanent residence. In 2012, the Idaho Potato Commission celebrated their 75th anniversary by traveling around the country with a six-ton, 28-foot long potato. The potato visited the Fork and made for a fun, eventful, interesting day.

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Image source: https://cdn.patchcdn.com

It’s also a site to many local events and fundraisers, such as “Put the Fork In Hunger,” a charity event that helps feed underprivileged families in the area.

Now that the Fork is here to stay, everyone’s happy, but most especially guerilla artist Ken Marshall, who says, ““When I am not here, my kids will go by and say, my dad did that. Which is kind of cool.”

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