A lion sculptured in 1906 in the Town of Clark’s Harbour by a 16-year-old boy who went on to become a famous sculptor in the United States has been moved from private property to be showcased in the park behind the town hall.
‘The Stone Lion’ was crafted by John Wilmot Nickerson out of cement and clay on a property that was adjacent to the long-gone Sea View Hotel, owned by Nickerson’s uncle, J. Lendall Nickerson. He also sculpted a pair of dogs that stood sentinel to the entrance of the hotel. One of those sculptures is housed in the Archelaus Smith Museum in Centerville.
For 111 years, the stone lion has stood guard on a small hill in the center of town. Over the years different people have owned the property and for years the town has tried to acquire the monument, says Mayor Leigh Stoddart, but nothing worked out until this year when the new property owners wanted the lion removed to make room for a parking area.
With the help of a crane, the town backhoe and public works’ staff, and the volunteer efforts of the mayor, the lion was moved late last month to the town park, and now stands guard near the town’s gazebo.
Plans are to make necessary repairs to the lion, give it a fresh coat of paint, and install an interpretive panel near the sculpture, says Mayor Stoddart. “He’s in a pretty good spot,” says Mayor Stoddart.
The town has several interpretive panels chronicling its history to install, says Mayor Stoddart, including one that will be placed where the Sea View Hotel once stood on property that is owned by the town. The mayor says plans are to create a community garden there.
Not long after sculpting the lion, John Wilmot Nickerson left Cape Sable Island, ending up in Fresno, California, where he pursued his dreams “and became a leading sculptor,” opening his own shop in Glendale CA,” states genealogy records.
“His porcelain statuettes were considered comparable to fine Italian creations and were sold throughout the U.S,” the records read.
He died in 1978.