Bear and Squirrel in a Tree

During the depression days, about 1936, a young man with the surname Welker, created a concrete statue that has become a recognizable landmark in Bluffton.

Working during the summer, outdoors in front of a business building in the Wells County town of Petroleum, Welker molded and formed a large tree of concrete and fence wire. A bear and squirrel, also concrete, are mounted on the tree limbs.

William Moser of Bluffton, who had commissioned the statue, had it erected in front of his White Rose Gas Station. The station, built in 1931, following the trend in those days to attract attention and customers, was built to actually resemble an airplane, with wings and a propeller.

Today, old timers still call it the "airplane station" but it is now a modern station and headquarters of Moser's National Oil & Gas Company at the junction of state roads 1 and 124. The tree remains in the same relative location after more than 65 years, not showing deterioration as much concrete today does.

The tree with the bear and squirrel as it appeared in a 1936 picture

The same bear and squirrel in 1999

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