Greater Ancestors

World Museum

Catalina Island Gigantic Skull


Glidden Will Erect a Novel Building on Catalina.


Strange Tower Will Be More Strangely Illuminated and the Interior Will Exceed the Exterior in Its Bizarre Details Archeologist Has Thoroughly Explored the Channel Islands and Has Dug Up Vast Quantities of Exhibits.

Two hundred feet above the Pacific Ocean and overlooking Avalon, on Catalina Island, Ralph Glidden of the staff of the Museum of the American Indian, George G. Heye Foundation, in New York, will erect a unique museum of his own that should prove one of the wonders of the modern world. Mr. Glidden is an archaeological authority on the famous Channel Islands, in whose ancient history there is a steadily increasing interest.

Instead of a tower to crown it, the Glidden museum will be capped by a gigantic skull, 16 feet wide, 11 feet high, and 24 feet through. For his model, Mr. Glidden is taking the skull of an Indian chief which he unearthed recently on San Nicolas Island, just out beyond Catalina. The enlargement will follow its dimensions proportionately.

The museum will be an imposing structure of solid masonry, 30 by 40 feet. The skull featuring the exterior will serve as an index to the contents of the building. The eye-sockets will be five feet in diameter, equipped with powerful electric lamps, the lights of which will be visible far out at sea.

Will Show Up the Teeth.

The nose-bridge will also be fitted up with additional illumination, as well as the lower jaw. The effect of the latter will be designed so as to show up the teeth, which were one of the notable features of the aborigines. The whole thing will be such that no one ever seeing it can forget Mr. Glidden’s museum. If men ever grew large enough for heads of such a size as this skull, they would be from 60 to 70 feet tall. Although the original Channel islanders were large men, not many exceeded one-tenth of that size.

Novelty of Mr. Glidden’s museum will not stop with the outside. If anything, the interior is to be even more bizarre. He intends taking for his pattern a mortuary chapel recently unearthed on the Island of Malta, in the Mediterranean, halfway between Italy and Tripoli, where St. Paul was shipwrecked in 60 A.D. This burial hall has for its mural decorations more than 2,000 skulls, with a frieze of collar-bones.

Will Be Open to the Public.

While Mr. Glidden will not attempt to duplicate this chapel, he intends to arrange many of the human bones that he has collected in various geometric designs. When completed, the museum on Santa Catalina will be unlike anything else anywhere in this country. It will be open to the general public, and the builder plans to give talks on the relics so that the people who visit it will learn something besides having their curiosity catered to.

The Museum of the American Indian, George G. Heye Foundation, was opened in 1916 in New York, at the corner of One Hundred and Fifty-fifth street and Broadway, adjoining the Hispanic Society of America, the American Geographic Society, and the American Numismatic Society. Its purpose was to study the Indians of North, Central, and South America, to gather evidence of their civilizations and modes of life, and to disseminate knowledge concerning them.

Mr. Heye, director, commissioned Mr. Glidden to explore the Channel Islands and collect relics of vanished Indians. Although the islands have already been dug over repeatedly by successive expeditions for archaeological researches from this country and abroad, the results attained by Mr. Glidden have been little short of remarkable, in the judgment of scientific men. He has dug up more than a thousand skeletons. Nine months’ work on Catalina yielded 316. In five months, he obtained 343 on San Miguel and 316 from San Nicolas in four months. As a result of these explorations, the Heye museum has the finest exhibit of Channel Island Indian lore existent, not surpassed even by that of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

1. The Oakley herald. [volume], November 17, 1922, Image 6
2. Democratic messenger. [volume], October 21, 1922, Page PAGE TEN, Image 10
3. The Madison daily leader. [volume], September 23, 1922, Image 2
4. The daily star-mirror., September 08, 1922, Page PAGE THREE, Image 3

Comments Off on Catalina Island Gigantic Skull