Weird California
Weird California
Weird California - By Joe Parzanese

Fork in the Road

Map Fork in the Road
South St. John and South Pasadena Avenue, Pasadena, California 91105

The Fork in the Road in Pasadena
The Fork in the Road in Pasadena

In Pasadena where Pasadena Avenue and St. Johns Avenue fork, the island in the middle of the street is home to a literal "Fork in the Road". The island is now called "Fork Plaza" and the fork is 18 feet tall with the tines facing down into the ground. Yes, the island literally has a fork stuck in it. The fork is wooden, painted to look like metal. It is anchored in 2 1/2 feet of concrete and steel.

The 18 foot tall fork first appeared in late October 2009. An artist named Ken Marshall created the fork, and along with his buddy, while dressed in CalTrans uniforms, one night dug the hole for the fork, poured the concrete, and even waved at police while installing the illegal sculpture. Marshall said it was built and installed in honor of his friend, Bob Stane's 75th birthday.

The fork originally didn't last long, as it was taken down on June 10th, 2010. The city removed it citing safety issues. But luckily, after proper permits were obtained, the city returned the fork sculpture on October 21st, 2011. This time it was set back a bit more on the island in order to give room for people to get out and take pictures. A ceremony was held at the time the fork was installed, as the city embraced its new sculpture.

On October 16th, 2012, a six ton, 28 foot long potato visited the giant fork. The giant potato had been created by the Idaho Potato Commission for their 75th Anniversary and had been traveling around the country on a flat bed truck.

Although impressive at 18 feet in height, Pasadena's Fork in the Road is no where near the World's Largest Fork. That might be the 35 foot tall, 11 ton fork in Springfield, Missouri.

Pasadena Fork in the Road - picture by Jandro Gamboa
Pasadena Fork in the Road - picture by Jandro Gamboa
Pasadena Fork in the Road - picture by Jandro Gamboa
Pasadena Fork in the Road - picture by Jandro Gamboa
Pasadena Fork in the Road - picture by Jandro Gamboa
Pasadena Fork in the Road - picture by Jandro Gamboa

Pasadena isn't the only city to have forks show up mysteriously in the middle of a road. In October 2012, a six foot tall upside down fork appeared in Carlsbad, mounted in the island at the intersection of Levante Street and Anillo Way. It had been created by Chuck Carroll, a retired school teacher who had been inspired by the "Muppets Movie" where a scene involves Kermit and Fozzie encountering a literal fork in the road. The city of Carlsbad, much like Pasadena, removed the sculpture after little more than a day, calling it a safety hazard. Although the city refused to restore this fork to its original location, eventually in January 2013, the Carlsbad Meals on Wheels took possession of the fork.

However, the residents around the fork at Levante Street and Anillo Way decided that they missed their fork, and in the weeks after its removal placed plastic and cardboard forks in its place. Even a fork carved from a pumpkin appeared the Halloween after. Also signs with sayings such as "Why the fork not?" and "May the Fork be with you." appeared on the island. Another fork was temporarily placed up behind the median, hanging from a tree, this time on private property so the city couldn't remove it.

All pictures courtesy of Jandro Gamboa. Check out his Instagram account Forgotten California to see more pictures of abandoned and forgotten sites throughout California!


Last Edited: 2014-11-10


Subscribe to the Mailing List for occasional emails!