Saturday, March 5, 2011

Litto The Hubcap King

What’s not to like? A sunny, warm and secluded valley in Napa County, off the usual path, with refracted light dancing off infinite rows of the automotive world’s chrome expressions of dressing up the wheel, in a day now where aluminum is king. For the tin foil hat crowd this could quite possibly be the safest place on earth from aliens and black helicopters.

Thematic folk art that makes it to landmarks status are 939’s…..presently there are eight of them throughout the state providing home grown eclec-ticity for the curious.

The whole thing started back in the 1030’s with the practice many of us do of propping up a fallen hubcap at roadside’s edge so the motorist could better retrieve his adornment. Well, since the area roads were rough and potholed, providing ample material, and with a love of things flashy, Litto Demonte took things a step further.
The late Litto’s grandson Mike runs the 360 acre ranch these days and the policy of giving a rare hubcap to grateful collectors continues, with the hitch that you must bring 5 hubcaps to replace it…thus insuring a healthy brood.

June 14, 1982. Like a spinner off a ’56 Dodge Coronet yours truly quite literally rolled up to this place while winding up a day of wine country stops with a trip to the Pope Valley Winery. No better way to celebrate the day the Falklands war ended than with cabernet, camping, and hubcaps. 

Plaque inscription: NO. 939 TWENTIETH CENTURY FOLK ART ENVIRONMENTS(Thematic) -LITTO - This is one of California's exceptional Twentieth Century Folk Art Environments. Over a period of 30 years, Emanuele 'Litto' Damonte (1896-1985), with the help of his neighbors, collected more than 2,000 hubcaps. All around Hubcap Ranch are constructions and arrangements of hubcaps, bottles, and pulltops which proclaim that 'Litto, the Pope Valley Hubcap King,' was here.
6654 Pope Valley Rd
(P.M. 14.3), 2.1 mi NW of Pope Valley, Napa County
Google maps: 38.63635,-122.452948

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