Indian Jim 1923-2005
In October 2005, Susan and I took an anniversary trip to Santa Barbara. While in Indian Jimís neck of the woods, we visited with Jim on October 19.

We spent about and hour and a half with Jim, until he got tired. Jim shared a few stories of the village. He was 81 years old. His residence, where we met with him, was a small apartment he had built in the corner of the barn on the property where he and his daughter live; very nice little place. He had lots of his own Indian handiwork in the cottage; he had recently completed making a beautiful and fairly decent size war bonnet. Jim told us that he got involved with FV because his partner had stopped at FV just after it had opened and the FV management (I think he said Sam Zerke) hired him and his partner to finish the construction of Indian Island, which only had the blockhouse built on the corner of the island. He assembled some Teepees that the park had bought, but the park staff did not know how to put together. He also built a Hogan and a Wickiup, and later built the Fort Far West. Jim left the Village after the Indian Island construction was done. He split with his partner. A little later on, someone called him to be a park character; he was paid $35 for each time his image was used. He later operated the fort trading post, and built and operated the archery range as a concessionaire. He said it took awhile to figure out a way to prevent the arrows from coming through the back wall of the range. He recalled the personal appearance(s) with Jay Silverheels (Tonto), at the park. Jim and I both remembered that Jay had real large hands. He praised Jay as being a real kind and gentle man. He complimented the Indian maidens that worked with him throughout the years. Help was needed getting Indian dancing together, so he took on that role. He left the park around 1968. We talked a little bit about him catching and killing rattlesnakes on his land, as he had two long rattlesnake skins hanging on the door to his bathroom. I reminded Jim of the first day we met (which would have been around 1966), when I was a groundskeeper and I was sweeping up on Indian Island and Jim was sitting on the porch of the trading post. He had a freshly killed possum hanging from the front porch and he asked me if I wanted some possum for lunch. I told him I had a peanut butter sandwich in the lounge. During our conversation, Jim said his hands and mind were working okay, but he had trouble walking around. He was a little hard of hearing when we talked, but not too bad. When we were leaving, Jim gave a beautifully made purpose pouch to Susan. We truly intended to see Jim again, when we left. I always had the utmost respect for Jim. I recall I was working weekday maintenance in the Winter of Ď66, and I was assigned the task of helping Jim repair the Wickiup, which had fallen to disrepair (or vandalism). I recall that I wasn't much help to Jim, but, aside from a few jokes and jabs, he was pretty tolerant of my lack of Indian dwelling construction abilities. Truth-be-told, although I was assigned by Jim Fox to help Jim, he sure-as-heck did not need my help. We will remember him, and miss him greatly. -Allen Weitzel

Indian Jim on Main Street



Notice the cute little tyke struttin' to the left. Where is he now and what is he doing?
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