Work takes me to Chico several times a year. I like Chico. When I drive by Bidwell Park I smile knowing that it served as Sherwood Forest in the 1938 Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn. There have been scores of Robin Hood movies. Many if not most critics believe that the 1938 version with Flynn was the finest. This website provides information on where what scenes were shot in Chico.
I had a Saturday free in Chico in February. I dipped my toes in Chico quirk.
Chico has its share of murals, some quirky, some not. It should not surprise, but there is a Robin Hood mural.
I found two others that I thought crossed the line into quirk.
Love it! It’s almost 40 years old. Its story is told here. The cool thing – the mural was originally painted on Taylor Hall. Taylor hall was demolished except the wall with the mural, which was touched up.
On the sidewalk in front of the mural:
Kinda creepy and awfully quirky.
And then a few blocks away:
The mural is on the wall of what was Herreid Music on the 100 block of Main Street. It was painted by Grey Payne and touched up regularly. Its future is uncertain – see this 2016 article.
Very nearby is Bird in Hand, a gift shop sort of at 320 Broadway. What lies within?
Yes! A yo-yo museum.
Wow – all about an an axle connected to two disks and a length of string looped around the axle.
A few doors down is the House of Rice Oriental Imports & Gifts, 338 Broadway, owned and run by Harold and Catherine Park since 1974. Visually it is a trip, a total awesome trip. It is a prime spot for quirk – any home would benefit from some schlocky “Oriental” quirk.
It is commonly believed that the beckoning cat or Maneki-neko originated in Tokyo (then named Edo). The earliest records of Maneki-neko appear in a chronology of Edo dated 1852. Every home should have one, at least one.
Holy mackerel. What joy!
Our last stop downtown was a bar, Madison Bear Garden, located adjacent to the Chico Cal State campus at the corner of 2nd and Salem. It’s been around since 1977.
Goodness knows there are bars all over with memorabilia and oddities on the walls and hanging from the ceiling. And then there are the few really elite, amazingly awesome bars with amazingly awesome memorabilia and oddities on the walls and hanging from the ceiling. Madison Bear Garden is among the elite.
What a feast for the eyes!
Our last stop in search of quirk was Caper Acres in Bidwell Park.
It’s a playground. Here’s the entrance. Good start!
One of the rules – no adult without kids. Good rule!
Sweet. One attraction, the crooked house, got taken out in a winter storm.
So there you have it – a little bit of quirk in Chico.
My parents moved to Yuba City, 46 miles south of Chico, in 1975. I don’t remember every going to Chico with them. Did I?
I am resolved to visit Yuba City more or less soon. It has been 40 years since my father died there and 23 years since my mother moved away from there. Time to see it again.
Madison Bear Garden isn’t my kind of place to hang out, but the material culture on display is an inspiration for a home quirky retreat. Lots of good ideas there. For anyone thinking about a quirky room – big ideas here.
My friend knows Chico fairly well. I did work there in the 1980s, negotiating with the City of Chico on behalf of its employees. My friend often came along and wandered the campus. He loved the bridges over the creek, thinking of the quote attributed to Sun Tzu about building your enemy a golden bridge over which to retreat.
I asked what he thought of the photos.