David of Sassoon and JFK.
David of Sassoon and JFK.

16-Foot-Tall Unwanted JFK

Field review by the editors.

Fresno, California

In 1964 Fresno artist Varaz Samuelian created a 16-foot-tall, 18-ton clay sculpture of assassinated President John F. Kennedy. Its size, he said, conveyed the magnitude of the artist's grief. "I felt so bad," he told The Fresno Bee at the time. "It seemed like a good thing to do."

Unfortunately no one else felt bad enough to commission a metal or stone version of Samuelian's big statue. Its clay model now stands in the yard of a house, slowly succumbing to the elements. Samuelian died in 1995.

Next to JFK stands an even larger statue, Samuelian's 18-foot-tall cement model for a statue of Armenian folk hero David of Sassoon. For reasons that only Fresno can explain, the city commissioned the Armenian folk hero but not the martyred President. A copper version of David of Sassoon stands next to the Fresno County Hall of Records.

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16-Foot-Tall Unwanted JFK

Address:
San Benito St., Fresno, CA
Directions:
Hwy 41 exit 126B. Southbound, turn left onto Van Ness Ave., cross under the freeway, then immediately turn left onto San Benito St. Northbound, continue straight off the ramp onto San Benito St. You'll immediately see the statue on the right.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Boy and the BootBoy and the Boot, Fresno, CA - < 1 mi.
Replica of a Toltec SculptureReplica of a Toltec Sculpture, Fresno, CA - < 1 mi.
David of SassoonDavid of Sassoon, Fresno, CA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Fighter Plane Crash Gas Station, Caruthers, CA - 13 mi.

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