Note: Text on this page was written prior to the arrival of the statue in Pellier Park in 2002.
The statue has been locked away in an Oakland warehouse since 1989. I had a scant 30 seconds to photograph what may be the only existing photograph of the Fallon Statue. The original photo was mailed from Nairobi, Kenya to Leonard McKay, who allowed me to take this photograph of the photograph.
The photograph shows proud foundry workers standing in front of the statue - little knowing of the stupidity to follow.
Even from the photo-of-a-photo it is an impressive piece. The depictions of the horses are superb, displaying the power and grace of the animals as they are reigned in at the moment of flag raising.
Thomas Fallon is charged with being a vicious drunk in the later years of his life. It is conjectured he may have gone mad. On more than one occasion he was evicted from hotels for "distasteful habits."A lifetime holds many moments. Thomas Fallon was also one of San Jose's most prominent and charismatic citizens. On July 14, 1846, he and his men raised the first American flag at the Juzgado. He was a respected community leader, and elected mayor of San Jose in 1859.
Former mayor Tom McEnery once quipped that the statue was in the witness-relocation program. Former mayor Susan Hammer prudently ignored it--choosing instead to erect computerized pay-toilets.
You have to love the orneriness of a city that will imprison perfectly good artwork in Oakland warehouses, while simultaneously show casing "Figure Holding the Sun." This is, after all, a city whose motto was once "Only 45 minutes from San Francisco."