Amazing-But-True Lubbock Landmark: John Wayne’s Head Carved in a 13-Ton Boulder
It's a tremendous Lubbock landmark that may be common knowledge to some folks, while others may have walked right by it and not realized what it was. But this 13-ton boulder is hard to miss!
The great American legend John Wayne's likeness is carved into a giant boulder and on display at the Lubbock Christian University's library.
I found this amazing-but-true landmark listed on the Roadside America website and was able to confirm that it is indeed still here a couple of decades later according to a recent story in Texas Hill Country. It's one of our lesser known claims to fame.
According to sources, this boulder has quite a history. It was almost 40 years ago that an even larger boulder posed a significant threat to Malibu California, dangerously situated on a cliff there. A crew commenced to blow up the boulder and rescue the town. From that boulder debris, one 13-ton piece was purchased for $100 by an artist who saw much more in it than a demolition scrap.
It took sculptor Ben Livingstone-Strong 10 weeks to carve this massive rock into the likeness of the one and only John Wayne's head.
So how in the world did it end up in Lubbock? Originally it was purchased by an Arizona real estate tycoon for possibly $1 million. It was displayed proudly at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood for a year, spent some time in storage and was eventually gifted to LCU in 1991, where it has been displayed ever since.
John Wayne's head carving, re-named 'Spirit of Independence,' is on display at the library of LCU and visitors are welcome.
A Google search for giant stone heads reveals that there are not very many to be found in the world. However, we have an impressive showing of them here in the great state of Texas in Houston. There are giant carved stone presidential heads, available for the public to view at 2401 Nance St. There are also Beatles sculptures in Houston at 2500 Summer St.) according to a story at Quirky Travel Guy.