Dr. Carolyn Comfort-Sanderson, former director of Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park.

Left to right: Sherry Whisler, past RCHS officer; Hoytanna Benigar, a past RCHS director and president; Bobbie Cary, RCHS treasurer; John Cary, director and past RCHS president. Seated: Dr. Carolyn Comfort-Sanderson, former director of Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park.

Friends and family members from all over the United States gathered recently as the Rogers County Historical Society (RCHS) honored Dr. Carolyn Comfort-Sanderson for her many years of service as Director of Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park.

John Cary, a current director and past president of the RCHS who has known Carolyn for over 25 years, opened the presentation.

“We are here today to recognize and honor Carolyn for her 16 years of excellent volunteer service to the historical society, at the historical society’s Ed Galloway Totem Pole Park, east of Foyil, Oklahoma,” he said.

Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park is the iconic roadside attraction filled with a collection of brightly colored concrete totem pole structures which were built by Mr. Galloway from 1937 to 1963, after his retirement as manual arts instructor from the Sand Springs Home for children.

The largest 90-foot-tall totem pole took over 10 years to build and features many Native American carvings and bas-relief images. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the park has been described, said John Cary, “as one of the 100 top outdoor architectural environments in the world.”

The Rogers County Historical Society has owned, restored, and maintained the park since it was donated by the Galloway family 30 years ago.

A former educator, Carolyn became the first RCHS director of Totem Pole Park in 1993. When Carolyn became a neighbor of then historical society president Wanda Moore, Wanda realized Carolyn would be the perfect candidate for director of Totem Pole Park.

Under Carolyn’s enthusiastic and tireless leadership, John Cary shared, “the park was restored, the Galloway house completely rebuilt, the totem poles repaired and repainted, and the Fiddle House, where Mr. Galloway’s woodworking pictures and fiddles were displayed, was restored.”

Each of these initiatives took tremendous fundraising efforts and a small organized army of dedicated volunteers to complete. Carolyn was the tiny spark that lit and sustained the flame of enthusiasm.

A plaque honoring Carolyn will be placed “inside the large totem at Totem Pole Park where visitors can see it,” concluded John Cary. “The plaque has a picture of Carolyn and states: Dr. Carolyn Comfort, Director, Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park, 1993 – 2009. For her untiring volunteer service in successfully leading the revival and restoration of the Totem Pole Park.”

Ed Galloway once explained, “All my life I did the best I knew, I built these things by the side of the road to be a friend to you.”

We appreciate the long-term dedication and restoration work of our friend Dr. Carolyn Comfort-Sanderson in safe-guarding Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park legacy. Because of the commitment of Carolyn, the Rogers County Historical Society, and many others, this unique and friendly roadside attraction has been preserved for generations to come.

Trending Video

Recommended for you