A giant pineapple carved out of the tree on the front lawn of Don Cole’s home in Port Huron, Michigan, on March 17, 2021. (Photo: Provided by C. John Anter)
PORT HURON, Mich. — The boyhood home of Thomas Edison and a honeymoon highlight for Bess and Harry Truman has a new reason that’s putting it on the map: a giant pineapple.
A wooden pineapple sculpture is now listed on Google Maps as “Port Huron Pineapple Statue” as a tourist attraction.
It was sculpted out of a broken red pine tree that was knocked down during a winter storm in December 2020, said owner Don Cole. Only part of the tree snapped off in front of his home, leaving behind a broken trunk that Cole did not know what to do with at first.
After doing some research on the internet, he found a chainsaw artist from New Baltimore named Scott Kuefler and reached out to him.
Turning tree stumps into wood sculptures has gained some attention recently — with local companies like Chainsawcarve.com turning a Wixom family’s 100-year old tree into art in July 2020.
Jim Barnes, of Chainsawcarve.com, transforms Dawn Brusseau’s 100-year old tree into a wooden sculpture after pieces of the tree were destroyed by thunderstorms in the backyard of Brusseau’s home in Wixom, Michigan, on July 15, 2020. (Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)
“I did some more investigation and decided on the pineapple because it is the universal sign of welcome and hospitality,” Cole said. “I thought ‘well that would be an appropriate thing to do,’ especially with what everyone has been going through with regard to the COVID and the lockdowns and things of that nature.”
The pineapple statue is about 10 feet tall and 3½ feet wide, said Cole.
Now visitors and people throughout the city refer to it as “the pineapple house.”
“Someone put it on Facebook,” Cole said. “There’s a Port Huron, Michigan, page, and it got over 1,600 likes and a bunch of comments. I haven’t had any negative comments, and kids really enjoy it.”
Cole did not expect the pineapple to get this much attention, but he doesn’t mind it.
“I’m not home all the time but when I am, it seems as though when I look out the window … people will stop and take photographs of it,” he said. “Someone will stand by and take a picture of it or of the person, so they don’t bother me at all. It’s kind of fun to see that.”
Cole lives alone. He has kids and grandchildren who live in Denver and have not seen the pineapple in person yet due to COVID-19, he said. They have plans to come out this summer now that lockdown restrictions are lifting.
Port Huron City Manager James Freed lives down the street and has heard nothing but good things about the pineapple sculpture, as well.
“I think everyone thinks it’s wonderful,” Freed said. “We’ve heard a lot of positive comments, it’s very unique and cool. … I like it, my friends like it. Kids will drive by for years to come and know that that’s ‘The Pineapple House’.”
Freed thinks the sculpture will be a nice thing for people to visit when they go to Lakeside Beach in Port Huron.
“They can’t miss it,” he said.
Cole said he just wanted to preserve something that has been valuable to him for a long time.
“I thought ‘why destroy something that I’ve enjoyed for so many years? why not turn it into something that maybe many, many people can enjoy?'” Cole said. “And as long as it puts a smile on someone’s face, the whole thing was worth it.”
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