Mysterious tree carving uncovered in Ashland

, Written by Jennifer Elliott, Posted: Mon, June 23 2014 at 3:54 PM, Updated: Mon, June 23 2014 at 4:44 PM

Ashland, Ore. - In Ashland, there's a mysterious tree carving that suddenly appeared on a residential street, leaving neighbors scratching there heads wondering just where it came from? 

Residents we spoke with never before saw this sculpture in an oak tree on Oak street in Ashland... that is until now.

"We walk up an down this street everyday, I hadn't noticed it before," says Ashland resident Amanda Schweitzer.

So where did the mysterious artwork, that stands over 10 feet tall, come from? "Larry Thompson, a maestro on the banjo, played for a lot of groups.  One of his friends carved a banjo player in a tree, neighbor Kelsey Bower tells us.

The sculpture for Thompson, also known as "Banjo Larry,"  was carved years ago when the tree died. The wooden banjo player remained a hidden treasure says Bower, buried beneath a thick layer of ivy, "It's been covered with ivy for years and it was just uncovered."

Turns out Thompson was also a Spanish teacher at Hidden Valley high school. He unexpectedly passed away at his home here in Ashland earlier this year.

Thompson played with several groups in the Rogue Valley. He's most known for his work with bluegrass band Hamfist. Thompson's legacy lives on in this oak tree on Oak street.

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About the Author

Jennifer Elliott

Jennifer Elliott anchors the primetime newscast FOX26 First News at Ten on NBC5’s partner station, KMVU/FOX26. She also reports for NBC5 News.

Jennifer began her career at NBC5 News in 2011 as a production assistant. Raised in Southern Oregon, she studied voice and piano while attending South Medford High School.

After graduating from Brigham Young University-Idaho, she returned home and added organ playing to her music repertoire. In addition to her musical talents, Jennifer is an award winning artist.

She has also co-hosted Southern Oregon’s Got Talent, the area’s premiere talent show. Jennifer is married and the mother of two young sons who keep her busy and very happy.

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