Rear View: Historic photo stories from The Jeanne Rodger Lane Center for Regional History

At first glance, one may assume that the couple traveling by covered wagon in this 1949 photograph have been literally frozen in time. However, a closer look reveals that the pair and their fellow yoke-strapped oxen are not poor victims of the cold, but rather the product of skillfully crafted snow and ice. This impressive ice sculpture was the work of Robert “Bob” Jacob, Sun Valley’s admired snow artist during the 1940s and '50s. Born in Switzerland, Jacob came to the Ketchum area in 1938, and worked as a painter for two years prior to beginning his snow-carving career at the Lodge. He had no prior experience with ice carving, but was convinced he had a knack for it after working as a laborer on Mount Rushmore National Memorial. During the winter season, Jacob was known for crafting wise man riding on 9-foot-tall camels, fierce rams and giant dragons, along with other whimsical characters. Yet, among all his creations, Jacob noted that his favorite work was when he fashioned up the Statue of Liberty in front of the Lodge shortly before World War II. The covered wagon pulled by a team of oxen became his most famous work, making repeated appearances at the Lodge for many years. The frozen scene reminded Sun Valley visitors of Ketchum’s rich history of wagon days as they passed by the ice sculpture on their way to winter activities.

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