Buckeye, Arizona: Hobo Joe Statue27-ft. tall fiberglass statue of a fellow down on his luck. Sports adorable rope belt and exudes dignified presence of the dispossessed. The urbane "Hobo Joe" was sculpted in California; only a few giant versions were created.
Visitor Tips and News About Hobo Joe Statue
Your attribution of the sculptor of Hobo Joe is incorrect. I believe that guy [Marvin Ransdell] merely owned a cast of the statue, or the molds from which they were made. The statue was sculpted in clay by my father, Jim Casey, in Culver City, California, around 1967. Molds were taken from it and he made casts of it in fiberglass in Scottsdale, Arizona, after which it was painted by his girlfriend, Elaine Polley. I believe only two or three of these 27-foot-tall versions were ever erected. The character is an urbane hobo: he wears a phi beta kapa key, and there's a Wall Street Journal in his pocket. He was originally holding a cigar on a toothpick, but it's missing now. I've attached a 1971 photo of Dad, Elaine, and a friend with numerous casts of the 5-foot-tall version of the statue and his dog, which stood outside each Hobo Joe restaurant. These were produced at my father's studio in Venice, California.[Kevin Casey, 06/29/2012]
Thanks for setting the record straight, Kevin, and for sharing that surreal photo.
Because of the story I saw on this website, I decided to drive the 40 minutes to see Hobo Joe. Well, I'm here to report that he is still proudly standing and looks in very good shape. It's in the quaint town of Buckeye, AZ approx. 50 minutes west of downtown Phoenix. It's worth the drive to visit a bygone era.[PhotogJerry, 06/21/2010]
Built in the 1980s, the 25-foot-tall vagabond was meant to stand in front of a Hobo Joe's coffee shop. But the chain went belly-up and the owner, Marvin Ransdell, died. The statue was erected here in 1989 by a friend of Ransdell, who owns the slaughterhouse behind it.
Regarding the puzzlement over the Hobo Joe statue: It's a larger-scale version of almost life-size statues of Hobo Joe that used to stand in front of Hobo Joe's coffee shops, a former Arizona chain partly owned by Barry Goldwater's brother, Robert. I visited it today. It's still in good repair.[doc, 04/20/2005]
A huge fiberglass Hobo resides in Buckeye, Arizona. I'm sorry that I can't relate any other details about his origin. You could probably contact Ray Gillum. -- his name is on the attached plaque and he runs a meat market in Buckeye. The hobo stands on the southeast side of the city at the corner of Monroe and Cemetery road.[Bryce LeGrand, 07/23/2000]