Three concrete statues of black bears appeared on a pond dam in view of Rt. 250 on Ridgeley Farm in Greenwood in May. They were a birthday present for farm owner Joann Hammer.
“I love statues,” she said, and she has other more classical ones in the gardens around the farm’s main house. “I put them out near the road for people to see them and have a smile. The intent is to bring smiles. I worried that they could cause accidents, but so far they haven’t. I hope they don’t. I think they are lovely.”
The mother bear weighs 3,200 pounds. The two cubs are also too heavy to lift without help. Hammer painted them to resemble local bears and named the cubs “Adventure” (the sitting one) and “Prowler.”
Her husband, Dice, had been uncertain about putting them in sight of the highway. He worried someone might shoot at them, she said. But so far there’s no sign of that.
In the last week of May a thief made off with the two cubs. A motorist was a witness to the crime and county police told Hammer they believed they knew who took them. When she talked to them the next day they backtracked, but overnight the cubs reappeared near their original locations. They were scratched up from being rolled and Adventure was missing its ears. Apparently the thief believed they were made of metal and could be melted down. One ear she could reattach and she painted them again. Hammer was mad about the theft, but after the cubs were put back she decided to drop the matter.
“I like bears,” said Hammer. “In the wild they are my favorite. They eat healthily. They are graceful and their expressions say they want to be left alone.” She said live bears are occasionally on the farm as well as coyotes and cougars, though no cougars recently.
Hammer said she has some other locations in mind for art offerings to the public.
“Perhaps they’ll get company,” she said.