The Greeter: 1980s Statue
Laguna Beach, California
In life, Eiler Larsen may have resembled a terrifying Old Testament prophet, but he was a sweetheart who delighted surprising visitors with gifts of flowers and candy. He was best known, however, as The Greeter, a man who for decades would stand beside the Coast Highway and greet visitors to Laguna Beach with a booming, "Helloo-oo, delighted to see you!"
Larsen died in 1975, and 10 years later a cafe, named The Corner Greeter, erected a statue of Larsen carved by Sculptor Guy Angelo Wilson from a redwood log cut down in 1890, the same year Larsen was born. The statue portrays Larsen in his less frightening final years, frozen in a perpetual wave with a book in his pocket (He liked to read). Befitting Larsen's status as a roadside attraction, sculptor Wilson had a reputation for carving Easter Island heads for Tiki bars.
The statue was scheduled to be repaired and refinished by Wilson in 2016.