Walking with my friends Miriam and Katrin and and their family, I came upon the Lovejoy Columns. Painted structures that clearly once had some kind of utilitarian purpose. They stand in the middle of a small open space in the Pearl District, near that jewel of independent bookstores, Powell’s.
The drawings are haunting, made moreso by the rebar tentacles that spread from the tops of the columns. Turns out these structures originally supported an overpass at the city’s railroad yards. A man named Athanasios Efthimiou Stefopoulos, a Greek immigrant, worked as a night watchman and from 1948 to 1952, during slow times, began drawing on the columns. At first, he used chalk, but eventually went over his work with paint.
The columns once held up a Lovejoy Street, hence the name. I wonder if Mr. Stefopoulos thought of that fact. If the idea of the street held up by these beams prodded him on as he created his masterpieces.